Press Releases S&Ds: “Long-awaited pharma package to be announced, finally!”

S&Ds: “Long-awaited pharma package to be announced, finally!”

Tomorrow, the European Commission will announce the long-awaited new pharmaceutical package aimed at improving access, availability and affordability of medicines for EU citizens.

The proposal will be unveiled after multiple delays*, despite warnings from the S&D Group that delays could jeopardise the chances of making meaningful progress on these landmark pieces of legislation in this mandate.

The S&D Group has been calling for a European Health Union since March 2020, with the pharmaceutical package as its centrepiece. In our view, the package must put patients at its core, prioritising access and affordability to quality medicine, and improving the environmental sustainability of production.

It is therefore vital for the proposal to ensure the fair pricing of medicines and greater access to treatments. It must also enhance the regulatory framework, which includes improving the environmental corporate responsibility, the monitoring and reporting of adverse reactions to medicines, as well as the transparency of all actors involved.

Heléne Fritzon, S&D spokesperson on health, says:

“With the world still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, this revision of the EU pharma legislation is crucial to ensure that all EU citizens have access to safe, efficient, and quality medicines. The pandemic highlighted the disparity in access to medicines and vaccines, not only between different countries, but also between wealthier and poorer households and even between genders.

“The measures will need to help strengthen the EU’s pharmaceutical industry, as well as improve access to all citizens though more affordable pricing and less regulatory burden. It is also key to tackle antimicrobial resistance. This will be a major step towards improving the health and well-being of our citizens.”

Tiemo Wölken, S&D coordinator of the committee on environment, public health and food safety, says:

“We need Union leadership with regard to the coordination of policies monitoring the safety, efficiency, quality and accessibility of medicines for our citizens. We must also ensure affordable access to innovative and established medicines with reduced environmental impact.

“We hope that the proposal, together with the Council’s recommendation on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), will present options to stimulate research and development for much-needed novel antibiotics, promote stronger surveillance and monitoring in member states, as well as stewardships and prudent use of antibiotics to counter the increasing multi-faceted cross-border health threat of AMR.

“We look to this revision to enhance the security of supply, and implement some measures already in use during the pandemic aimed at reducing regulatory burden. Drawing lessons from the COVID-19 management, the new pharma package also needs to strengthen the necessary transparency and independence requirements of all parties, be they public or private.”

* Originally featured in the European Commission’s work programme for 2022, the institution postponed the presentation of the pharmaceutical package several times despite committing to publish it in December 2022. The Commission planned to release it on 29th March but again postponed it.

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