EPP calls for European health ‘independence’

EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, is seen on a screen of a phone, during a mini plenary session of European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, 26 March 2020. Due to Coronavirus pandemic, plenary session is reduced to one day and mainly operated as a video conference. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

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The EPP Group wants to bring back part of the production of medicines to Europe to make it medically independent from third countries such as India and China. Also, stockpiling of certain medicines in Europe should become compulsory, like a European Emergency Pharmacy.

“The fact that about 80 percent of basic drug components, for instance for antibiotics, come from China and India, is alarming. We must step up and better protect the health of European citizens”, said the EPP Group’s Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé MEP, who drafted a parliamentary Report on the shortage of medicines, ahead of today’s debate in the European Parliament’s Environment and Health Committee.

Colin-Oesterlé wants to encourage manufacturers to relocate part of the production to Europe by setting incentives such as improved state aid rules and new criteria for public procurement.

“One of the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic is that we must help manufacturers to produce medicines in Europe. Our state aid rules must not weaken public health and our geostrategic position. Also, making security of supply a priority criteria in public tendering procedures for medicines can be an important incentive”, said Colin-Oesterlé.

“We also need a common stockpile of medicines in Europe for treating cancer and infectious diseases. Such a European Emergency Pharmacy would make sure medicines and access to treatment is available to all patients in Europe”, she added.

“This Report is all the more important as the European Commission put health at the heart of its Recovery Plan which it presented yesterday, taking up the majority of our proposals. Let us take advantage of this determination to build a genuine European healthcare system”, concluded Colin-Oesterlé.

The draft Colin-Oesterlé parliamentary Report is expected to be adopted by Parliament’s Environment and Health Committee in June and will be voted on by Parliament’s Plenary in July.

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