Fight against cancer – Parliament has delivered: Standardised cigarette packs with 80% warning labels

Brussels, 10.12.2021. The Special Committee on Cancer voted yesterday on the report Strengthening Europe in the fight against cancer. MEP Manuela Ripa (ÖDP): “After almost one and a half years of hard work, I am very pleased that we have succeeded in presenting a comprehensive report.”

“One of the key points of my Greens/EFA group was prevention. My group colleagues and I have been particularly committed to this. I am therefore pleased that the chapter is comprehensive, especially as the EU has decision-making power here. It is right and important that we advocate ambitious legislation on prevention,” said Manuela Ripa. This applies not only to obvious cancer risk factors such as alcohol and cigarettes, which are to be provided with warning labels, but a focus is also placed on other carcinogenic factors such as environmental toxins e. g. endocrine disruptors. Cancer prevention also includes reducing air, food, water, soil and chemical pollution.

“Similarly, a healthy diet is central and here I very much welcome that risk factors such as excessive consumption of meat and highly processed foods, as well as products high in sugar, salt and fat, are clearly addressed,” Manuela Ripa emphasises. Children in particular are increasingly affected by obesity, which poses a cancer risk in old age. Therefore, the demanded ban on advertising such products to children is also only logical. 

“The protection and better treatment of children is particularly close to my heart. Therefore, I welcome that this runs through the entire report as well as that we call for more research on childhood cancer,” said the ÖDP politician. After all, fighting childhood cancer requires individual medical approaches that differ from the therapies of adult cancer patients.

In addition, the right to be forgotten is an important goal of the report, as no one should be discriminated against throughout their life because they were diagnosed with cancer as a child.

As access to medicines and treatments is not the same in all EU countries, the report calls for greater cross-border cooperation, such as the possibility to get a second medical opinion and easier reimbursement in other EU Member States. Equally important, the report also puts a clear focus on access to affordable medicines and best possible treatment for cancer for all.

“Everyone has the right to the best possible treatment and medication, regardless of their financial situation. Cancer should not be a question of money,” the MEP states.

Last but not least, the report also includes calls for more investment in non-animal research methods, patient data protection and effective adjunctive therapies.

“It is now up to the Commission to take this on board and draft an Action Plan 2.0, and up to the Member States to improve prevention, access to medicines and treatments for all,” concludes Manuela Ripa.