New future-proof EU pharmaceutical policy 


Affordable medicines, preventing shortages and a climate-neutral industry - Parliament presses for a new EU pharmaceutical policy.

During the plenary session in November 2021, the European Parlimanet set out a series of recommendations for the update of the EU's pharmaceutical legislation.

In 2019, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) authorised 103 orphan drugs - which are drugs to treat rare medical conditions - but only half of them reached the market, with an average delay of two years. This is just one of the issues raised in a report about EU pharmaceutical policy. To solve this problem MEPs called for shorter approval times by national agencies and alignment with the European Medicines Agency to ensure rapid and equal access to medicines across the EU.

Read more about EU public health measures

Shortages of medicines

The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted shortages of medicines and medical equipment, putting patients at risk and national health systems under pressure. Parliament called on the European Commission to address the root causes of shortages and propose sustainable solutions including the timely entry into the market of generic and biosimilar medicines in order to ensure patients have access to safe and affordable drugs.

Find more about medicine shortages and Parliament’s solutions

Environmentally friendly pharmaceutical industry

Parliament also said the pharmaceutical industry should become environmentally friendly and product life cycles should be climate-neutral. The Parliament stressed the need to strengthen EU manufacturing and supply resilience and to increase transparency on prices and public funding for research and development.

MEPs recommend coordinated awareness campaigns on antimicrobial resistance; and developing adequate capacity for the sustainable production of active substances, raw materials and medicines in order to reduce dependence on external sources.

The report calls on the Commission to fully implement the Clinical Trials Regulation to facilitate the launch of large clinical trials carried out in a harmonised and coordinated manner at EU level.