Today, the European Commission is launching an online public consultation on the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe. Coming in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Strategy, which will also inform the newly proposed EU4Health Programme and align with Horizon Europe for research and innovation, will aim to ensure Europe’s supply of safe and affordable medicines to meet patients’ needs and support the European pharmaceutical industry to remain an innovator and world leader. The consultation will last three months and consists of questions, which will focus on key themes: strategic autonomy and manufacturing of medicines, access to affordable medicines, innovation, and environmental sustainability and health challenges.
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “The Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe is a cornerstone of our policy in the area of health for the next five years, and this is the chance for all stakeholders to help us shape it. I call on patients’ associations, industry, public authorities, academia and the general public to contribute. With this Strategy, which I will present by the end of the year, we will be responding to the challenges amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic and all the structural issues on access, affordability and the strategic autonomy of our Union on medicines. We need to ensure that all patients have access to optimal care& affordable medicines. Together we will make a difference.”
The Strategy aims to create a “future proof” system, which reaps the benefits of digitalisation and promotes innovation especially in areas of unmet needs, such as antimicrobials, medicines for children and medicines for rare diseases. It also intends to reduce the EU’s dependency on imports from third-countries. A part of active pharmaceutical ingredients necessary for production of some generic medicines (including “old” antibiotics, oncologic medicines and the most basic medicines, such as paracetamol) comes from China and India.
The Strategy will also reduce the impact of medicines on the environment and tackle anti-microbial resistance.
Finally, the current COVID-19 crisis has shown that the EU needs to make sure that medicines, including vaccines, can be available under all circumstances.
In parallel to the consultation, the Commission will also hold bilateral technical talks with stakeholders in the coming weeks and months.
The Strategy, which is in line with the Industrial Strategy for Europe, and the priorities outlined in the European Green Deal, Beating Cancer Plan and the Digital Strategy, will address long standing challenges, some of which were exacerbated by the COVID 19 crisis.
The aim of the consultation today is to allow the public, experts and stakeholders to contribute and voice their opinion on the best ways to address pharmaceutical related issues in the EU.The results of the public consultation will contribute to the preparation, in the autumn, of the Pharmaceutical Strategy, which is expected to be adopted by the end of the year.
The consultation will run for 13 weeks, until 15 September 2020, and questions can be accessed on EUSurvey.
In addition to the public consultation, the Commission had also launched, on 2 June, a consultation on the Roadmap for the Strategy, running until 7 July 2020.
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