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Pharma package: No more delays; time for action, say S&Ds

Date

29 Mar 2023

Sections

Health & Consumers

In reaction to the European Commission’s umpteenth postponement of its pharmaceutical package, the S&D Group will not attend the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) meeting with the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, scheduled this Thursday, 30 March.

The timely revision of the pharmaceutical rulebook is crucial to ensure better access to safe, effective and affordable medicines in order to deliver on promises to citizens. Originally featured in the European Commission’s work programme for 2022, the institution, however, kept postponing the presentation of the pharmaceutical package despite committing to publish it in December 2022. Then planned for 29 March, the Commission yet again put off its publication.

The S&D Group had called for a European Health Union already in March 2020, of which the pharmaceutical package is the centrepiece. Continuous delays seriously jeopardise the chances of making meaningful progress on these landmark pieces of legislation in this mandate.

Tiemo Wölken, S&D spokesperson on health, said:

"Our political group deplores yet another indefensible delay of the pharmaceutical package by the Commission. With this in mind, the S&Ds do not see any reason to attend the exchange with Commissioner Kyriakides this Thursday afternoon, when this very package was meant to be presented, as there is simply nothing to discuss. Our group is more than happy to sit together once the Commission is ready to get serious and present a proposal in order to make the revision a reality.

“The pharmaceutical industry has been leading an increasingly aggressive lobbying campaign against the revision of EU pharma legislation. This latest delay is welcome news only to them. We have no more time for lobby games, and neither do our citizens. What we need is a Union leadership in regards to the coordination of policies monitoring the safety, efficiency, quality and accessibility of medicines for our citizens, as well as to ensure access to innovative and established medicines with reduced environmental impact.

“Moreover, the revision will present options to stimulate research, and also development for much needed novel antibiotics to counter the increasing threat of antimicrobial resistance.

“The revision should also help enhance security of supply and implement some measures already in use during the pandemic aimed at reducing regulatory burden and addressing the necessary transparency and independence requirements of all parties.”

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