European Parliament hearing wants guarantees for access to COVID-19 vaccines
The European Parliament this morning organised a hearing with researchers, civil society, the European Medicines Agency and representatives of the pharmaceutical industries to see how all Europeans could be provided with future Covid-19 vaccines.
Renew Europe has been at the forefront of efforts to boost transparency and accountability in ongoing negotiations over Covid-19 vaccines between governments, the European Commission and industry, and this discussion with the ENVI and ITRE committees was part of that process. The hearing showed that the idea of a common EU approach to the development, trials and provisions of vaccines has now firmly taken root but the reality is not there yet. A coordinating role for the European Commission, a common scientific base, and proactive information to citizens are key to unify efforts to contain the Covid crisis.
MEP Pascal Canfin (Liste Renaissance, FR), chair of the ENVI committee, said: 'Today we have very little information on the terms of the contracts which have been signed by the European Commission and some laboratories. We wanted to have more information on the commitments made by the large laboratories, and whether they will be able to live up to them, and on the responsibilities of each. Even the amount of these contracts, we do not know! The lack of transparency of these contracts was very clearly highlighted during this hearing, where Parliament played its role as guarantor of democratic accountability.'
MEP Katalin Cseh (Momentum, HU), concurred: 'A future vaccine must be accessible and affordable to all. That is why we are concerned by the fact that advance purchase agreements signed by pharmaceutical companies and the European Commission recently are not open for public scrutiny. This worrying lack of transparency removes the proper liability and accountability of the pharmaceutical industry, and Renew Europe will never stand for that.'