European Commission launches alliance for critical medicines
The European Commission is looking for companies, governments and organisations to join a new alliance on critical medicines. The alliance, which was announced in October, aims to tackle the shortage of critical medicines in Europe.
Last year, several European member states faced shortages of antibiotics, painkillers and other medicines. Belgian Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke has been at the forefront of calls for more European cooperation and coordination on the issue. As a result, the European Commission launched an action plan to prevent and reduce shortages of medicines considered essential for healthcare.
One of the plan's priorities is now being fleshed out, with the Commission launching a call for participation in the critical medicines alliance. It is open to companies, EU member states, local and regional authorities and civil society, as well as health professionals, patient organisations and social partners. The aim is for the alliance to become the "industrial arm" of the European Health Union, providing recommendations and advice on impending drug shortages.
Among other things, it will look at diversifying supply chains and increasing production capacity for medicines and their ingredients.
The alliance will start work next spring and will run for five years. The first recommendations should be published by autumn. It will build on the list of European critical raw materials adopted by the European Medicines Agency in December.
Other recent EU legislation, on critical raw materials for several industries, was agreed in November by the Parliament and member states. This initiative aimed to reduce the EU's dependence on third countries for extraction, processing and recycling critical raw materials. The medicine alliance thus appears to be in line with efforts to reduce Europe's dependence on third countries in a number of areas.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen © PHOTO STEPHANIE LECOCQ / POOL / AFP