EU draws up plans to stockpile scarce medicines

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Brussels is seeking to end a Europe-wide medicine shortage by stockpiling drugs and obliging manufacturers to guarantee supplies.

The EU will also try to reduce reliance on China and increase domestic production capacity, the European Commission told the Financial Times.

A surge in winter sickness in the northern hemisphere and reduced exports from China have meant patients have found it difficult to get hold of some basic medicines such as penicillin and paracetamol.

Almost all 27 EU member states and the UK have reported shortages.

Under pressure from governments, the commission has said it will intervene to ensure “strategic autonomy” in basic medicines through a “systemic industrial policy”. It said it would soon propose legislation to “secure access to medicines for all patients in need and to avoid any market disruption of medicines”.

The reform would require “stronger obligations for supply, earlier notification of shortages and withdrawals and enhanced transparency of stocks”, the commission said.

Photo: EU Audiovisual Services

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