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Parliamentary questions
25 April 2018
P-001287/2018
Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission

Considering that the issue of shortages has been widely discussed and studied for many years(1)(2)(3)(4), the Commission does not intend to prepare an analysis of the reasons for shortages of medicines.

However, on 27 October 2017 the Commission launched a questionnaire on the measures implemented by the Member States for appropriate and continued supplies of medicines(5)(6). The Commission is now preparing a report and will organise an expert meeting focusing on identification and sharing of best practices for ensuring continuity of supply between the Member States including measures restricting parallel exports. One reason for some of the shortages in the European Union is indeed parallel export.

The European legislation does not foresee a pan-European system for monitoring medicines.

Currently, the Commission and 22 Member States are working on setting up a Digital Service Infrastructure for the cross border exchange of electronic prescriptions and short forms of electronic health records (patient summaries).

8-9 Member States should start exchanging health data in 2018. In this first wave, the exchange possibilities are limited but in 2019 more countries will join and, due to the multilateral nature of the system, the possibilities for exchange grow with every new member.

This system will allow for medicinal prescriptions to be issued and transmitted electronically for citizens travelling inside the EU; it does not however foresee a central register for storage of ePrescriptions.

(1)http://ec.europa.eu/health//sites/health/files/files/committee/69meeting/pharm610_shortages.pdf
(2)http://ehtpa.eu/pdf/Matrix_report.pdf
(3)http://www.eiu.com/graphics/marketing/pdf/ESMO-Cancer-medicines-shortages.pdf
(4)http://www.eu2016.sk/en/political-and-expert-meetings/the-availability-of-medicines
(5)Article 81 of Directive 2001/83/EC (https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/files/eudralex/vol-1/dir_2001_83_consol_2012/dir_2001_83_cons_2012_en.pdf )
(6)https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/files/committee/pharm736_3v_shortages-of-medicines_0.pdf

Last updated: 25 April 2018Legal notice