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Media and Political Bulletin – 21 September 2020

Media and Political Bulletin

21 September 2020

Media Summary

EU must step up efforts to tackle medicine shortages, say MEPs

The Pharma Letter, 18 September 2020

The Pharma Letter reports that the European Parliament, at the Plenary session on 17 September 2020, called for the European Union to be more self-sufficient when it comes to medicines and medical equipment so that affordable treatments are available at any time.

Parliament welcomed the new EU health program EU4Health and asked the Commission to use the upcoming pharmaceutical strategy to ensure that safe medicines in Europe can be made available, accessible and affordable and to examine ways to restore pharmaceutical manufacturing in Europe.

Priority needs to be given to boosting domestic production of essential and strategic medicines as currently 40% of medicines marketed in the EU originate in non-EU countries, while 60%-80% of active pharmaceutical ingredients are produced in China and India, MEPs said.

Parliamentary Coverage

There was no parliamentary coverage today.

Full Coverage

EU must step up efforts to tackle medicine shortages, say MEPs

The Pharma Letter, 18 September 2020

The European Parliament at yesterday’s Plenary session called for the European Union to be more self-sufficient when it comes to medicines and medical equipment so that affordable treatments are available at any time.

Parliament adopted by 663 votes to 23 and 10 abstention a resolution addressing the root causes of recent medicine shortages. MEPs called for an increased EU response to a problem that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 health crisis across Europe with a direct negative impact on patients’ health, safety and the continuation of their treatment.

Parliament welcomed the new EU health program EU4Health and asked the Commission to use the upcoming pharmaceutical strategy to ensure that safe medicines in Europe can be made available, accessible and affordable and to examine ways to restore pharmaceutical manufacturing in Europe.

The resolution also calls on the Commission to propose a directive setting minimum standards for quality healthcare systems in member states.

Return to EU independence in the health sector

Priority needs to be given to boosting domestic production of essential and strategic medicines as currently 40% of medicines marketed in the EU originate in non-EU countries, while 60%-80% of active pharmaceutical ingredients are produced in China and India, MEPs said.

They also mentioned the need to screen foreign direct investment in pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, which are part of Europe’s critical health infrastructure and encourage the introduction of financial incentives to persuade companies to produce active pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines in Europe.

After the vote, the rapporteur Nathalie Colin Oesterle (EPP, FR) said: “Public health has become a geostrategic weapon that can bring a continent to its knees. Our dependence on non-EU countries has been exposed by the current pandemic. Certain types of production must be relocated, legislation must be harmonised and cooperation between member states must be strengthened in order to achieve greater solidarity and to regain our independence.”

EFPIA raises some issues

Speaking about the vote, European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) director general, Nathalie Moll said: “We are acutely aware of the impact medicine shortages can have on patients. Addressing them is a priority for the European research-based pharmaceutical industry, as was acutely exemplified industry’s frontline role over the past eight months to avoid any shortages of medicines during this pandemic.” She went on to say. “While some of the recommendations put forward by the European Parliament could have a positive impact in reducing medicines shortages, we are deeply concerned that other measures proposed not only fail to address the root causes of this emerging problem, but if implemented, could severely undermine the ability of our companies to innovate.”

While the Parliament has recognized patent protection as a key incentive for companies to invest in innovation, the EFPIA notes with concern that several suggestions made in the report, such as changes to EU intellectual property rules, as well as pricing and procurement policies, are disproportionate and unbalanced. Similarly, in calling for a number of regulatory reforms and sanctions for manufacturers, the European Parliament does not consider the extreme complexity of the issue, and the need to produce additional evidence and knowledge about the key drivers and extent of medicines shortages.

Media and Political Bulletin – 21 September 2020

From Factory to Pharmacy

As part of our mission to build awareness, understanding and appreciation of the vital importance of the healthcare distribution sector, we developed an infographic explaining the availability of medicines. It identifies the factors that can impact drug supply, as well as the measures that HDA members undertake day in, day out to help mitigate the risks of patients not receiving their medicines.

See the Infographic

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