Any decisions taken on emergency contraception are not a result of any conflict of interest, Medicines Authority chief Anthony Serracino Inglott said this afternoon.
Earlier today, the Medical Association of Malta called on Prof. Serracino Inglott to declare he had no such interests following his comments that medicine importers discussed commercially sensitive information with him regarding the number of pharmacies that were willing to sell the morning-after pill.
“The information was handed to us by a wholesaler who carried out some research to establish the pharmacists’ position, passing on the information to us. We never asked for the information,” Prof. Serracino Inglott told journalists during a press conference this afternoon.
He insisted that the moment he accepted to take up the role of authority chief, he cut all ties with the pharmaceutical industry and has since never been involved with any stakeholders.
On the request by MAM to withdraw his "unsubstantiated claims" that abortions were being carried out in Malta, Prof. Serracino Inglott said that when making these claims, he was referring to doctors who prescribed an overdose of the contraceptive pill.
Prof. Serracino Inglott made his comments during the TVM programme Dissett on Wednesday, saying that the morning-after pill, which will now be sold over the counter following weeks of controversy, would reduce the number of abortions taking place in Malta.
“We know that doctors were prescribing overdoses of the oral contraceptive pill since the emergency contraception is not yet available.
“For many doctors this is abortifacient and that is what I was referring to. Once the morning-after pill is made available, these doctors can rest assured that they are not carrying out any form of abortion,” he said.
Abortion remains illegal in Malta.
In a statement this morning, MAM president Gordon Caruana Dingli said: "Abortion is a criminal offence in Malta and this allegation worries the public and tarnishes the reputation of the whole medical profession. MAM calls on the professor to withdraw his unsubstantiated allegation promptly."
MAM had also referred to Prof. Serracino Inglott's comments that medicine importers discussed commercially sensitive information with him regarding the number of pharmacies that are willing to sell the morning-after pill.
"MAM insists that the chairman and board members of the Medicines Authority should make declarations of conflict of interest to maintain the integrity of their posts."
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