In its newly published work programme for 2019/20, an EU-wide task force has set out a series of necessary actions to ensure the availability of medicines in the EU.
The task force is committed to identifying, managing and communicating on issues that can affect the availability of medicines in the EU, its main aim being to improve the continuity of supply of human and veterinary medicines across Europe.
The task force additionally provides a useful forum to facilitate and co-ordinate actions between Member States, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Commission in the context of Brexit, which is also expected to impact on the availability of medicines in the EU.
Who is involved in the task force?
It was set up by the EMA and the Heads of Medicines Agencies, and includes representatives from the European Commission and interested national competent authorities.
The chairs of the Co-ordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures – Human and Veterinary, the GMP/GDP Inspectors Working Group, the Working Group of Communication Professionals and the European Surveillance Strategy Working Group are also represented within the task force.
How can availability issues be addressed?
In its 2019/20 work programme, the task force list several actions that both regulators and industry can take to ensure the availability of medicines in the EU.
- Investigating ways to minimise supply disruptions and avoid shortages by facilitating approval and marketing of medicines using the existing regulatory framework
- Developing strategies to improve the prevention and management of shortages caused by disruptions in the supply chain
- Encouraging best practices within industry to prevent shortages
- Improving information sharing and best practice exchange among EU regulatory authorities to better co-ordinate actions across the EU
- Fostering collaboration with stakeholders and enhancing the communication of supply problems to EU citizens.
These priorities and more will be discussed at a dedicated multistakeholder workshop organised by the task force on 8-9 November.