Report calls for stronger EU pharma strategy to deal with medicine shortages
A report released by MEPs of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI) was released earlier in the week that highlights the issue of medicine shortages.
Since the pandemic started, it’s become clearer that the EU is facing a significant and growing problem when it comes to its supply of medicine and medical equipment.
In fact, according to the Commission, shortages have been increasing steadily since 2000 and are now 20 times higher, making it harder for patients to access the medicines they need.
More than half of the medicines that are in short supply are essential, including those that are designed to treat cancer, and infectious and nervous systems disorders.
MEPs have now drafted the report to call for a new EU pharma strategy that ensures all EU citizens can have reliable, timely access to medicine when they need it.
The draft report, which is called “Towards an EU pharmaceutical policy that meets future needs”, received 62 votes in favor, eight against, and eight abstentions.
MEP Dolors Monsterrat, who presented the report, said, “The report reinforces the European pharmaceutical strategy for the forthcoming review and update of the EU pharmaceutical legislation, putting patients at the heart of health policies.”
This follows the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe, which was adopted by the European Commission in November 2020. The strategy includes policies that aim to improve access to affordable medicines and strengthen the industry in preparation for future pandemics.
It also aims to make the EU a world leader in public health. The new report presents new ideas to legislation that could achieve this by “access to medicines” and “improving the sustainability of our national health systems”.
One of the causes of the lack of medicines in Europe is the relocation of pharmaceutical production to outside the EU. Approximately 40% of medicines and 80% of APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) are currently imported from China and India.
MEPs are now keen to create a more resilient EU production and supply system, including promoting pharmaceutical products that are made in Europe.