2 Health Econ. Pol'y & L. 1 (2007)

handle is hein.journals/hecpol2 and id is 1 raw text is: 

Health Economics, Policy and Law (2007), 2: 1-6
o Cambridge University Press 2007  doi 10.1017/S1744133106006219

Guest Editorial

EU law and national health policies: problem or

Professor of European Law, University of Nottingham, UK

The European Union's (EU) legal system was set up primarily to establish and
maintain the 'single market', based on the 'integration' of the separate markets
of the Member States. This integration forms the bedrock of the peace and
security sought by the original 'founding fathers' of the EEC. The legal tools
of integration include a deregulatory entitlement of economic actors (mainly,
firms operating in the EU) to challenge discriminatory barriers to trade and
other impediments to access the markets of other Member States. They include
enforceable legal norms to ensure free competition within the single market.
They also include regulatory powers (or competences) of the institutions of
the EU, to adopt harmonized legislation necessary to create and sustain the sin-
gle market. Nothing here, the casual observer might remark, to touch on
national health policies, and certainly nothing that might destabilize their fun-
damental values and principles.
   Not so. There is no doubt that EU law does affect national health policies,
both directly and indirectly. The deregulatory, market-based rules of EU law
have been presented as at least having the potential to challenge some of the
fundamental principles upon which European health care systems are built,
such as territoriality, solidarity in provision or equality of access irrespective
of means. However, it is my view that, rather than being merely a source
of destabilization with negative consequences, EU law may be seen as present-
ing opportunities for development of national health policies in the Member
   The EU has a very long pedigree of regulatory measures affecting national
health policies. For instance, because pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and
other medical 'products' need to be able to circulate freely within the single
market (at least as a matter of law), there is a significant body of EU law, dating
back to the 1960s, covering their marketing authorization; labelling, packaging,
and advertisements; and quality and safety. Recent additions to this legislative

*Correspondence to: Professor Tamara K. Hervey, School of Law, Law and Social Sciences Building, University
of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK. Email: tamara.hervey@nottingham.ac.uk

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