The European Commission has adopted a Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe to ensure patients have access to innovative and affordable medicines and to support the competitiveness, innovative capacity and sustainability of the EU’s pharmaceutical industry.

The Strategy will allow Europe to cover its pharmaceutical needs, including in times of crisis, through robust supply chains. The Commission said the Strategy will help to establish a future-proof and crisis-resilient EU pharmaceutical system.

The flagship actions of the Strategy include:

  • A revision of the basic pharmaceutical legislation (target date for a proposal: 2022) with a view to making this framework future-proof and innovation friendly.
  • A proposal for an EU Health Emergency Response Authority (proposal: 2 semester 2021).
  • A revision of the regulations on medicines for children and rare diseases.
  • Initiating a structured dialogue with and between all actors in the pharmaceutical manufacturing and public authorities to identify vulnerabilities in the global supply chain of critical medicines and shape policy options to strengthen the continuity and security of supply in the EU.
  • Co-operation between national authorities on pricing, payment and procurement policies, to improve the affordability, cost-effectiveness of medicines and health systems’ sustainability.
  • The creation of a robust digital infrastructure, including a proposal for a European Health Data Space (target date for a proposal: 2021).
  • Support for research and innovation, notably via Horizon 2020 and EU4Health.
  • Actions to promote innovative approaches to EU R&D and public procurement for antimicrobials and their alternatives and measures to restrict and optimise their use.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen stated: “The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the vital need to strengthen our health systems. This includes access to safe, effective and high-quality medicines at an affordable price. In the challenging economic and social times the EU is currently facing, the strategy adopted… will ensure that Europe and Europeans will continue to benefit from such medicines. I call on Member States and the Parliament to endorse this approach, which will be rolled out in the next three years and beyond.”