Produce more medicines in Europe. Rely less on China and India. Preserve the EU’s disaster management mechanism ‘RescEU’ and stockpile certain medicines. These are the main messages of a parliamentary Report drafted by the EPP Group’s Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé MEP, which Parliament’s Environment and Health Committee will vote on today.
“Numbers show that Europe depends by far too much on the production of medicines in third countries. Whereas drugs are mostly produced in India, as much as 80% of the active ingredients come from China. We must better protect the health of European citizens. The EU should make its own medicines”, said Colin-Oesterlé MEP ahead of today’s vote.
“To bring back production to Europe is a major contribution to security of supply. The COVID-19 crisis has shown how dangerous it is to be so dependent on China and India for vital products such as masks and medication”, added Peter Liese, the EPP Group Spokesman on health issues.
Colin-Oesterlé and Liese stressed the need to secure the supply of medicines throughout the production chain and called for security of supply to be a priority criterion in public procurement procedures. “Tenders by health insurance companies or state health systems must include other criteria than price alone, for example at least two production sites in Europe”, they said.
Finally, Colin-Oesterlé underlined the importance of ‘RescEU’, the EU’s disaster management system, which includes, amongst others, mechanisms to stockpile medical equipment. She called for its sustainability, in particular when it comes to certain types of essential medicines. “Shortages, which have increased 20-fold between 2000 and 2018, mainly affect antibiotics, cancer drugs and drugs used to treat diseases of the nervous system”, she concluded.
Colin-Oesterlé’s Report is expected to be voted on by Parliament’s Plenary in September, to feed into the Commission’s EU pharmaceutical strategy, presented later in the year