On 24 October 2023 the European Commission adopted a set of actions to better prevent and mitigate critical medicine shortages in the EU. Recent critical shortages, including of certain antibiotics last winter, show that continued coordinated action is needed to address supply challenges and to make Europe's medicine supply chains more resilient in the long run. The main objective of the Communication is to prevent and mitigate critical shortages at EU level, focusing in particular on the most critical medicines, for which security of supply in the EU must be ensured at all times.
Building a European Health Union - Related Opinions
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The Covid 19-pandemic has drawn attention to the role of the pharmaceutical industry and to production, availability and affordability of medicines and medicinal products on the European market.
Dependency on critical ingredients, such as active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), became obvious when China and India limited exports. According to current data, up to 80% of APIs used in Europe and about 40% of finished medicines sold in Europe come from China or India. The European Union's increasing dependence on API supplies has led to a partial loss of capability to manufacture active substances independently, which poses a potential threat to public health in the countries of the European Union.
This opinion presents the EESC's contribution to the current discussion on the future of care and health across Europe and to the European Care Strategy. The Committee recommends setting common minimum standards to ensure that every one living in the EU has access to affordable, accessible and high-quality care, that there is proper investment in the care services and in health, that the health sector, care providers and health workers are properly recognised and valued, including through investment in skills, decent working conditions, and the creation of quality jobs.
In this opinion, the EESC presents its view on the Commission's proposal establishing the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority. (HERA), whose mission is to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to transnational health emergencies. The EESC welcomes this initiative but is concerned by the very limited role given by HERA to the European Parliament, regional authorities, health insurance bodies and civil society organisations and recommends their stronger involvement by adapting HERA structure and ensuring greater transparency with regard to the funds allocated and spent by and through HERA.
- welcomes this package of measures;
- recognises that need to pay particular attention to the situation of smaller EU Member States, Cyprus, Ireland and Malta in particula;
- stresses in particular the central role of a functioning, fair and efficient internal market;
- welcomes the packaging requirements for UK products included in the package;
- draws attention to the need for a timely and sustainable solution, which should be developed within the framework of the European Pharmaceutical Strategy.
This exploratory opinion, requested by the French Presidency of the EU, has the following objectives:
This opinion comments on the new EU strategic framework on health and safety at work for the period 2021-2027. The framework sets out the key actions needed to improve workers' health and safety over the coming years and focuses on three objectives: managing change brought by green, digital and demographic transitions as well as changes to the traditional work environment, improving prevention of accidents and illnesses, and increasing preparedness for any potential future crises. The EESC broadly agrees with the vision set out in the strategic framework but proposes also additional measures and initiatives to be integrated in the strategy.
In this opinion the EESC:
- Welcomes Europe's Beating Cancer Plan as a milestone in the fight against cancer and calls for a concrete roadmap for its implementation, with performance indicators, realistic timeframes and close involvement of Social Partners (SP) and Civil Society Organisations (CSO).
- Considers important that the EU and Member States ensure the availability of igh-quality, accessible healthcare infrastructure and effective support systems for patients' physical and mental well-being.
- Asks for the negative consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in accessing to health services to be urgently addressed, recognising as well the supportive role SP and CSO can play in this area.
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