MEPs: Europe needs an “emergency pharmacy”

The Commission was asked to create a contingency reserve of medicines

Photo: EP Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé.

The lawmakers from the EP Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee adopted by overwhelming majority a report on the shortage of medicines, which addresses the root causes of the issue.

The report spotlighted the need for an increased EU response, as the problem aggravated across Europe due to the Covid-19 health crisis. The Commission should create a European contingency reserve of medicines of strategic importance, along the lines of the RescEU mechanism. It should act as “an emergency European pharmacy” in order to minimise shortages, MEPs urged.

Public health has become a geostrategic weapon that can bring a continent to its knees, Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé (EPP, FR), the rapporteur on the file said explaining that the dependence on third countries has been exposed by the current pandemic.

It is necessary to relocate certain types of production, to harmonise legislation and to strengthen cooperation between member states in order to achieve greater solidarity and to regain our independence, the rapporteur stressed. I call in my report for a genuine pharmaceutical industrial strategy, she added.

Currently 40% of medicines marketed in the EU originate in non-EU countries, and 60 - 80% of active ingredients are produced in China and India.


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