A massive push to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, a plan to secure access to it for Europeans, investments to reduce quality differences between hospitals and health infrastructure across Europe, a master plan against cancer and reducing VAT for fruit and vegetables. These, and other measures, are part of the plan the EPP Group in the European Parliament adopted today to put health at the top of the EU's agenda.
"We are very concerned that the United States bought almost all global stock of the drug Remdesivir which is a promising treatment for COVID-19. We must make all the necessary efforts to give European patients access to therapies against COVID-19", said Peter Liese MEP, EPP Group Spokesman for Health.
"I am in direct contact with the company which produces Remdesivir and told them they should be fair to European patients if they want to have a good relationship with the European Union, also in the future for their other drugs", Liese continued.
The EPP Group calls for dialogue and cooperation in the case that a vaccine or a treatment is first developed outside Europe. But it also proposes using the so-called forced or compulsory licencing, in case the producers do not want to make it available in Europe.
The EPP Group's policy paper also calls for common EU standards for health data collection and analysis, new measures to bring pharmaceutical production back to the EU and to stockpile important life-saving medicines in Europe.
Requisite to these plans is an important increase in health funding in the new EU long-term budget. Responding to an initiative of the EPP Group, the European Commission has already created the Health4EU Programme and announced an increase in the health budget from €413 million in 2018 to 9.4 billion in 2020.
Another initiative would be reducing the use of antibiotics in both humans and livestock across Europe to respond to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. According to WHO figures, 33,000 people die in Europe every year because antibiotics don’t work anymore.
You can read the full text of the EPP Group's Position Paper on Health here.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States