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Parliamentary questions
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30 October 2018
Question for written answer E-005528-18
to the Commission
Rule 130
Theresa Griffin (S&D)

 Subject:  Flu vaccine supplies after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union
 Answer in writing 

The Commission is no doubt aware that Brexit poses a significant public health threat to the EU.

Today, with the UK an integral part of the single market, medicines flow seamlessly across the English Channel and many EU citizens rely on disruption-free supply of medicines. According to the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), some 45 million patient packs of medicine go to the EU from the UK every month, and 37 million patient packs go from the EU to the UK.

Furthermore, some medicines, such as influenza vaccines, cannot be stockpiled, as they are based on strain recommendations that change annually. They are particularly sensitive to disruptions in the supply chain as the timeframe, including delivery and administration, is short.

1. Given that vaccines cannot be practically stockpiled, with many having a narrow time window, what steps will the Commission take to ensure that flu vaccine supplies are not disrupted in order to reduce the estimated 44 000 deaths annually from respiratory diseases associated with influenza in Europe?

2. Does the Commission agree that, given the critical public health threat posed by Brexit, a future UK-EU political declaration must include a commitment from the EU to take steps that maintain the frictionless supply of medicines and most particularly vaccines?

Last updated: 12 November 2018Legal notice