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Parliamentary questions
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15 March 2021
E-000043/2021(ASW)
Answer given by Ms Kyriakides
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-000043/2021

The EU is a centre of excellence worldwide in rheumatology research. Through the EU research and innovation framework programmes, the Commission has invested in basic, clinical and public health research in rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). Numerous calls for proposals addressing non-communicable diseases, ageing, occupational health and new technologies were relevant for these prevalent diseases.

The EU Framework Programme for 2021-2027, Horizon Europe(1), will continue to support research and innovation on RMDs and their comorbidities.

While research has made leaps in the past decades in terms of understanding these diseases and with biologic medicines, many patients in the EU suffer from RMDs or are in remission.

The Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe(2) aims to foster research in areas of unmet need, including for RMDs, through a revision of the system of incentives in the general pharmaceutical acts(3) and through collaboration among the actors of the medicines lifecycle in evidence generation and scientific advice.

It also foresees the revision of the orphan and paediatric medicines legislation(4). Other areas of action include medicines repurposing, Research &Development funding and measures to secure the supply of medicines.

The joint procurement agreement to procure medical countermeasures(5) pursuant to Decision 1082/2013/EU(6) provides for cross-border joint procurements to tackle communicable diseases.

A recent joint procurement(7) allows participating countries(8) to order millions of vials of 18 intensive care units medicines(9), which could eventually also be used to treat patients with RMDs and in particular, musculoskeletal diseases associated complications.

(1)https://ec.europa.eu/info/horizon-europe_en
(2)COM(2020) 761 final.
(3)Regulation (EC) No 726/2004 and Directive 2001/83/EC.
(4)Regulation (EC) No 141/2000 and Regulation (EC) No 1901/2006.
(5)https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/docs/key-document/c2014_2258_en.pdf
(6)Decision No 1082/2013/EU on serious cross-border threats to health and repealing Decision No 2119/98/EC, 5.11.2013, OJ L 293, p. 1-15.
(7)SANTE/2020/C3/029 for the supply of medicinal products used for intensive care patients subject to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.
(8) EU Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Italia, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden), European Econonmic Areau (Norway, Liechtenstein), United Kingdom, North Macedonia, Montenegro.
(9)Analgesics/corticosteroids, antibiotics, muscle relaxers, anaesthetics/sedatives, resuscitation/emergency drugs.
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