The EPP Group says it wants to relieve Europe’s dependence on third countries such as India and China when producing medicines. It wants to make stockpiling of certain medicines in Europe compulsory through a sort of European Emergency Pharmacy.
Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé MEP, who drafted a parliamentary report to be voted on today in Parliament, and Peter Liese MEP, the EPP Group Spokesman on Health, stressed: “Europe must not rely on Asia for medicines or any other vital medical equipment such as, for instance, masks and ventilators.”
To secure the supply of medicines in Europe, Colin-Oesterlé proposes to establish an EU emergency stockpile. “Shortages, which had increased 20 times between 2000 and 2018, and even deepened during the COVID-19 pandemic, hit mostly antibiotics, cancer medicines and those medicines used to treat diseases of the nervous system. This is not acceptable. Medicines and access to treatment must be available for all patients in Europe”, she said.
For Colin-Oesterlé it is also important that security of supply becomes a criterion in tendering procedures for companies producing medicines. “If you produce a drug, you must make sure you can supply it. National health systems must include other criteria than the price alone, for example at least two production sites in Europe”, she added.
“We must reinforce cooperation between the private and public sectors in Europe and develop an innovative system for procurement and development of medical countermeasures, such as, for instance, the American BARDA. We must be prepared for when the next crisis hits”, Liese concluded.
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) is the US Department of Health and Human Services office responsible for the procurement and development of medical countermeasures, principally against bioterrorism.