The spokesperson for the People’s Party in the European Parliament, Dolors Montserrat, today presented its draft European Parliament report on the new Pharmaceutical Strategy for the European Union. This strategy, he explained, aims to be “one of the pillars of the European Union for Health, since it has to allow citizens faster and more equal access to medicines.”
The report, which has been presented to the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, places the patient at the center of health policies and stresses that access to safe, effective and high-quality medicines it is essential to advance the prevention and treatment of disease.
In this sense, Montserrat has asked that fair and equitable access for patients is guaranteed to affordable and innovative medicines, especially addressing unmet medical needs. He has described as “inadmissible” that the medicines approved by the EMA have an availability in the different countries of the EU that oscillates between 7% and 90% depending on the country.
In addition, “95% of the 7,000 rare diseases still have no treatment option and more than 30 million patients ask us for an answer,” said the former Minister of Health, who asks to review the incentive system for research and the development of new drugs, especially to cover unmet therapeutic needs.
Medicines “made in Europe”
As Montserrat explains, “the pandemic has shown us the growing threat of a shortage of essential medicines, which have been so necessary during the pandemic and which are generally not produced in Europe, due to their low price, which causes shortages, lack of of access and tensions in the national national health systems. There are many factors that contribute to the shortage of medicines and one of them is the great dependence on non-EU countries with regard to active principles, chemical raw materials and medicines ”.
For this reason, the EU has to bet on medicines “made in Europe”: “It has to invest more in research and increase its production capacity, stimulating a competitive industry that invests in innovation, in resilient supply chains and in quality employment. ”.
He has also asked the Commission to “promote greater joint European public procurement, as has been done for Covid-19 vaccines, and innovative procurement procedures that address criteria such as European manufacturing, on-time delivery or safety in the supply ”.
It has also requested that “measures be introduced to support a greater presence of generic and biosimilars in the market, since they contribute greatly to the sustainability of health systems.”
Another challenge addressed by the Montserrat report is the fight against antibiotic resistance, which kills 33,000 people in Europe every year. For this, “it considers imperative a common therapeutic guide for antimicrobials” and also “coordinated communication campaigns through a single calendar”, since antibiotic resistance is one of the main public health threats we face.
Thus, the spokesperson stressed that the new strategy aims to support the pharmaceutical industry with a stable, flexible and agile regulatory framework and that “for this, bureaucracy must be reduced and the timing of procedures between the EMA and the agencies must be aligned. national ”.
In this sense, he has called for “developing updated regulatory frameworks and new commercial models that allow broad access to the most innovative treatments: gene and cell therapies, personalized medicine, nanomedicines, the latest generation of vaccines, and e- Health ”.
The report presented by Dolors Montserrat also calls for measures to promote quality employment in the pharmaceutical sector, facilitating talent retention and mobility within the EU, with the help of Next Generation EU funds.
It is planned that the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe can be approved by the European Parliament in autumn, after the deadline for all political groups in the European Parliament to present their amendments on June 1 and these are negotiated within the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.