MEP Kelleher calls for common EU approach to procurement and distribution of core medicines

Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher has said that the pan-European shortage of critical medicines to treat patients suffering from respiratory infections is proof positive that EU countries must continue to work together in terms of the procurement, purchasing, storage and distribution of key medicines.

Kelleher was speaking ahead of a debate in the European Parliament this week on this very important and timely issue.

„All EU member states, and not just Ireland, are suffering from shortages of common Over the Counter (OTC) medicines used to deal with the symptoms of respiratory infections.

„While this current situation originates from a unique coming together of three serious viral infections – influenza, Covid 19 and RSV, at the same time, it demonstrates to us the weaknesses EU countries have in terms of accessing medicines at critical times.

„I firmly believe that Member States, led by the Commission, need to agree to common procurement in terms of these and other important medicines. This is similar to how we dealt with the Covid 19 pandemic when it came to vaccines.

„We cannot allow a situation to arise where we see different national health systems competing with each other to buy the same limited stocks. We also need to ensure that there is a centralised database of who has what type of medicine, and who does not, to allow sharing of medicines between Member States if, and when, the need arises.

„At present, the EU Treaties do not allow for the EU to take the lead on most issues related to healthcare. I think it’s time to review this, as I do see the value in a European Health Union to ensure value for money, easier procurement and sharing of resources at times of need.

„We cannot have any more winters where basic OTC drugs are simply not available to citizens,” concluded Kelleher.

Billy Kelleher MEP
Fianna Fáil | Renew Europe

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