The EPP Group calls on the EU to prepare for the scenario that a COVID-19 vaccine is developed outside Europe by a country that does not want to share it.
"In the fight against the Coronavirus, we need a vaccine and medicines as soon as possible. If a vaccine is first developed outside Europe, we must do everything possible to ensure that the vaccine is actually available to all countries. We are, of course, counting on dialogue and cooperation, but unfortunately, we must also expect others to reject dialogue and cooperation. This is why we need a plan B", said Peter Liese MEP, the EPP Group’s Spokesman for Health, ahead of today's debate on the topic in the European Parliament.
"For example, it is legally possible to go for so-called forced or compulsory licencing. This makes it possible for Member States to use the recipe for the vaccine production without formal consent of the original patent holder", explained Liese.
But EU Member States should do this jointly. "We must make sure this does not turn into chaos. It would not make any sense for France and Germany to allow such compulsory licences, while Italy and Spain do not. The European Commission, not individual countries, should be in charge of the process and coordination at EU level. Trade measures should also be considered to ensure that medicines and vaccines are made available to all", he added.
The EPP Group also insists that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) continues to test all vaccines rigorously before approving them. "We encourage shortening the approval procedures, but high safety standards must be maintained. In the current situation, it is crucial to be both quick and thorough", concluded Liese.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States