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We Need EU Help To Prevent Essential Medicine Shortages

MEP Sara Cerdas has called out for urgent help in obtaining essential drugs for the whole of the European Union. “We need answers to the shortage of medicines and the European Union can do this. The EU must focus on the joint purchase of essential medicines, such as Covid-19 vaccines because access to medicines cannot fluctuate as a result of wars, floods, inflation, or other natural/man-made disasters.”

The block purchase by the 27 Member States of essential drugs would give the European Union greater negotiating power vis-à-vis pharmaceutical companies and “would, in essence, ensure that no one lacks care, especially chronically ill patients. It will also ease the burden on health services and healthcare professionals.”

The Director General of DG Santé – European Commission, Sandra Gallina, yesterday, at a hearing in the European Parliament, after facing the possibility of the EU implementing this mechanism, agreed with the MEP on the need for joint procurement of essential medicines. However, at the moment, she said, it would mean buying medicines at inflated prices.

Sara Cerdas also proposes other measures, such as the identification of missing drugs and production and supply points where there are failures by the European Medicines Agency (EMA); and rules to ensure greater transparency of pharmaceutical product availability and market withdrawals. Measures she presented last week at the plenary session in Strasbourg in a debate on the shortage of medicines.

Recently, the Minister of Health, Manuel Pizarro, told reporters that there is no shortage of medicines in Portugal as alternative drugs have been procured. However, it should be noted that in other EU countries, the situation has worsened.

Samantha Gannon

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