EU Needs a Public European Medicines Infrastructure?

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Today’s EU pharmaceutical market is unsustainable, due to the fragmentation of EU players and public dependence on private interests. A recent Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) study of the EP proposes a solution involving the creation of a public European medicines infrastructure, a body that would control of the entire drug cycle, from its inception to its delivery.


Brussels, 28 July 2022

In response to Covid-19, the EU launched the EU4Health program, the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe, strengthened the roles of EU agencies, such as the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the ‘European Medicines Agency (EMA). It also created two new structures: the European Executive Agency for Health and Digital (HaDEA) and the Authority for Health Emergency Preparedness and Response (HERA).

HERA‘s mission is to purchase and distribute vaccines and implement other medical countermeasures for the benefit of the 27 EU Member States.

The EU4Health programme was adopted as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to reinforce crisis preparedness in the EU. The pandemic highlighted the fragility of national health systems. The EU4Health programme will bring a contribution to the long-term health challenges by building stronger, more resilient and more accessible health systems.

Health is an investment and, with a €5.3 billion budget during the 2021-27 period, the EU4Health programme is an unparalleled EU financial support in the health area. EU4Health is a clear message that public health is a priority for the EU and it is one of the main instruments to pave the way to a European Health Union. It was established by Regulation (EU) 2021/522. EU4Health brings an EU added value and complements the policies of the Member States to pursue four general objective representing the ambitions of the programme and ten specific objectives representing the areas of intervention. Read more here about EU4Health and Funds.

However, an STOA study analysed 200 bibliographic sources and interviews 60 experts on the effectiveness of Europe in the pharmaceutical field, and finds that the solutions put in place so far are limited and do not address the root of the problem: the unsustainability of the current pharmaceutical system of the EU.

The study identifies major market and policy failures at the heart of the problem, including:

1. a discrepancy between public and private research and development (R&D) priorities;

2. a discrepancy between “open” public sector science and private copyright regimes;

3. an excessive flow of public subsidies to the private sector;

4. the control of the private monopoly on the access and cost of medicines.

What possible solution for Europe? Read more…








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