Access to medicines must be guaranteed to everyone in Europe
The Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety voted today on a report to address the recurring problem of shortage of medicines affecting a growing number of patients in Europe. The report stresses that our response to the current crisis must be based on three pillars: the Union must regain its independence with regard to health care products by securing supplies; stepping up European action to better coordinate and supplement Member State health policies; and enhancing cooperation between them.
While healthcare is primarily the responsibility of the Member States, better coordination is needed between countries, as well as strengthening the European Medical Agency’s competencies to prevent future shortages. Part of the solution could be the real-time management of medicine stocks and improved information systems so as to provide a clear overview of problems, shortages and requirements in each Member State, with a view to preventing stockpiling.
During the negotiations on the report, Renew Europe's priorities were to ensure patients' health and safety; identifying and guaranteeing the supply of “medicines of major therapeutic interest”; creating a European reserve of medicines of strategic importance; as well as restoring European independence over medicine production. Renew Europe is strongly of the view that bringing more production back to Europe - incentivised by financial measures, and conditioned by compliance with environmental, social and occupational standards - will not only help to secure the steady supply of medicine for patients but it will also contribute to Europe's green recovery after the crisis. Renew MEPs have led the call to develop a genuine industrial strategy for the pharmaceutical sector by investing in cutting-edge research to make Europe the world leader in innovation and excellence in the health sector.
MEP Véronique Trillet-Lenoir (Liste Renaissance, FR) Renew Europe's shadow rapporteur commented after the vote:
“In order to secure access to medicines of major therapeutic interest to all European patients, we should diversify our production capacities and explore as many tracks as possible. This could include incentives to relocate pharmaceutical industries in compliance with our environmental and social values; exploring public-private partnerships; and if needed, supporting non-profit pharmaceutical establishments when access to medicines of strategic importance is life-threatening.”