European Health Union: Commission launches a “structured dialogue” to address vulnerabilities in the supply of medicines in the EU

Today, the Commission launched a structured dialogue with the actors in the pharmaceuticals manufacturing chain as part of the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe. The dialogue, which comprises of national authorities, patients and health non-governmental organisations as well as the research community, aims to gain a better understanding of the functioning of the global supply chains of medicines and identify causes and drivers of vulnerabilities. The initiative will help to address the resilience of our pharmaceuticals supply chains, in particular to develop production capacity for critical active ingredients, raw materials and medicines in the EU to ensure better preparedness for future health pandemics, in light of the experiences with COVID-19. The initiative could also provide input in setting up the new European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA). The launch of the dialogue follows a request by the European Council to reinforce the EU’s strategic autonomy in the area of pharmaceutical products since the COVID-19 crisis has raised concerns about possible shortages of certain pharmaceuticals and a possible EU dependency on imports of pharmaceuticals from third countries. Vice-President Schinas opened the event and Commissioners Kyriakides and Breton moderated a roundtable discussion with stakeholders.  Minister of Health Marta Temido represented the Portuguese Presidency and MEPs Dolores Montserrat and Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé the European Parliament. Coordinated by the Commission, the structured dialogue aims to generate information and analysis on medicines supply through a series of working meetings to follow at experts level. This dialogue is one of the flagship initiatives of the Pharmaceutical Strategy, adopted in November 2020. The dialogue will serve to put forward, by the end of this year, a set of policy recommendations to address identified vulnerabilities in the pharmaceutical manufacturing supply chain strengthen the resilience of our health systems. Ultimately, it will ensure that medicines are available to patients in need, and at all times in the European Union. More information here.