The EU strives to be a frontrunner in ensuring universal health coverage. In addition, it is a global leader in healthcare research and development and a major trading partner in pharmaceuticals and medical technologies. People across the EU expect to benefit from equal access to safe, state-of-the-art and affordable new and established therapies. Medicines play an important role in this regard, as they offer therapeutic options for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases.
The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) clearly demonstrates the need to modernise the way the EU ensures that its citizens get the medicines they need. Although this has been thrown into sharp relief by the coronavirus pandemic, it is not a new problem: even prior to the pandemic we witnessed shortages of essential medicines, such as cancer treatments, vaccines and antimicrobials. This calls for a thorough examination of how the supply chain – from the importing of active ingredients, raw materials, and medicines from third countries to internal EU production and distribution – can be made more secure and reliable.
Securing the supply of medicines is not only about existing therapies. There is also a need to ensure that the European pharmaceutical industry remains an innovator and world leader. Innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence as well as data collected from clinical experience (“real world data”) have the potential to transform therapeutic approaches and the way medicines are developed, produced, authorised and placed on the market and used. Innovation needs to be focused on areas of most need.
At the same time, more must be done to ensure that innovative and promising therapies reach all patients who need them: at present, this is not the case, with patients in smaller markets being particularly affected. Health systems, which are also seeking to ensure their financial and fiscal sustainability, need new therapies that are clinically better than existing alternatives as well as cost effective.
Finally, we are more aware than ever of the need to reduce the environmental footprint of medicines. All these challenges will be addressed in the forthcoming EU Pharmaceutical Strategy, which should cover the whole life-cycle of pharmaceutical products from scientific discovery to authorisation and patient access.
More information on the context of the initiative, on the challenges identified so far and on the objectives can be found in the roadmap (https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12421-Pharmaceutical-Strategy-Timely-patient-access-to-affordable-medicines). Whether you are a concerned citizen or a professional in the area of medicines we would like you to let us know if you share our 2 objectives, what actions we should focus on and whether there are any additional aspects that we should cover.
After some introductory questions about yourself, the questionnaire continues with questions on the Pharmaceutical strategy. When replying, please keep in mind that the questions in this survey were developed to address the long-standing issues identified in the EU pharmaceuticals system. These may be related to the problems arising from the coronavirus pandemic but are broader than that. The end of the survey includes dedicated questions on coronavirus related issues.
Please note that in this questionnaire, we do not intend to obtain data relating to identifiable persons. Therefore, in case you will describe a particular experience or situation, please do it in a way that will not allow linking to a particular individual, whether it is you or somebody else. We thank you in advance for your time and input.