Miñones calls for boosting mechanisms to guarantee the EU's strategic autonomy in the availability of medicines

News - 2023.5.5

The Minister for Health, José Miñones, has defended the need to continue advancing in the construction of the European Health Union to generate mechanisms that ensure the availability of medicines in the region, and the autonomy of the EU in this field.

He did so in his speech at the Informal Meeting of Health Ministers (IMM) held this Friday in Stockholm, as part of the health agenda of the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU.

The Minister for Health has valued the steps taken in this direction by the EU since the beginning of the pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, highlighting the creation of the Health Emergency Response Authority (HERA) and its response to monkeypox, with the joint purchase of vaccines.

Along the same lines, he highlighted the importance of initiatives such as the Spanish Hipra vaccine against COVID-19 and the Open Strategic Autonomy (OSA) project, which seeks to ensure the EU's strategic autonomy in key sectors such as energy and health, via recommendations on issues such as the availability and production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIS).

Miñones shared with his European counterparts some experiences in this field, such as the National Supply Guarantees Plan, the publication of the first national list of strategic medicines and the creation of a strategic reserve.

He also underlined the relevance of the implementation of EU policies on challenges such as access to classic medicines whose commercial margins have been shrinking, and together with this, their flexibility and availability.

A stable, innovative and sustainable pharmaceutical ecosystem

The Minister for Health also defended the need to generate a solid pharmaceutical science and R&D system that allows the EU to anticipate disease and provide the treatments that citizens need.

"A reality that involves the continued adaptation of our systems to build a stable, innovative and sustainable pharmaceutical ecosystem," Miñones stressed, while calling for reflection on access to medicines and the promotion of synergies that ensure favourable conditions for all.

José Miñones has made a call for Europe's role in improving safe access to medicines, promoting the joint work of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and national agencies, and the analysis of the suitability of new joint purchasing experiences in very specific areas such as health alerts, antibiotics with limited supply and rare diseases.

The Minister for Health said that the best way to ensure fair and sustainable access is to create a stable ecosystem. In this regard, he shared Spain's work on the new Pharmaceutical Industry Plan, which includes measures to ensure a balance between innovation and sustainability, and contemplates the development of the field of generics and biosimilars.

Recovery and development of the health sector in Ukraine

Last, the Minister for Health called on EU Member States to promote a roadmap to help the recovery and development of the health sector in Ukraine, while continuing to address the most urgent health care needs.

Miñones reaffirmed Spain's commitment to issues such as the training of healthcare professionals, and advice and technical support in the development of digital health strategies to promote healthcare in complex conditions.

He also offered words of support and his solidarity to the Ukrainian people, calling for the defence of the values of the EU represented by democracy, social justice and freedom.

Non official translation