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EU launches ‘Voluntary Solidarity Mechanism’ to tackle medicines shortages this winter

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The measures have been taken to prevent and mitigate critical medicine shortages including respiratory antibiotics

The European Commission launched an initiative to deal with the ongoing supply crisis on Tuesday (24 October).

The following announcement was made after identifying the winter shortage of critical antibiotics by the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The “European Voluntary Solidarity Mechanism” is a proposed short-term measure that involves a Member State’s need for a given medicine to other Member States to redistribute medicines from their available stock.

Additionally, the Commission intends to cooperate with member states to improve components of pharmaceutical reform with an aim to strengthen supply security.

They are setting up a few actions apart from the launch, a list of critical medicines to analyse the supply chain by early 2024; regulatory flexibilities; strengthening security of supply; and availability of antibiotics and treatments for respiratory viruses by next winter.

Moreover, the EU is also likely to introduce the “Critical Medicines Alliance” by early 2024 to focus on medicines with high-risk shortages and their impact on healthcare systems.

In early 2024, they will also develop a common strategic approach to medicines stockpiling to stave off medicine shortages in cooperation with Member States.

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