14 Mar

The EPSCO Council of health ministers took place on 14 March 2023 in Brussels. On behalf of Hungary, Péter Takács secretary of state of health attended the meeting.

At the Council meeting, ministers exchanged views on the recent shortage of medicines across Europe, which has global causes. State Secretary Péter Takács shared the view that enhanced cooperation is needed to avoid similar situations in the future. If the EU faces a global shortage of essential medicines, we need to be able to coordinate with manufacturers, marketing authorisation holders and other stakeholders in a timely manner. To underpin such consultations, we need to be able to collect data, for example on the origin of the active substance used in the EU, manufacturing capacity in the EU and other key information, so that we can clearly identify what can be done at EU level when it comes to interactions with global players.

At the meeting, Member States were also briefed on the EU's global health strategy, as drafted by the European Commission. In his contribution, State Secretary Péter Takács said that the strategy should be in line with EU policy objectives such as the fight against chronic diseases such as cancer, digitalisation and the fight against cross-border health threats.

Regarding the joint procurement of Covid vaccines, state secretary Takács underlined that the current epidemic, economic and geopolitical situation does not allow Member States to purchase vaccines that they do not need. We expect further negotiations and we count on the support from the Commission.

In addition to the above, the EPSCO Council's health agenda also included a draft regulation on fees payable to the European Medicines Agency, the implementation of the medical devices regulation, the establishment of an international pandemic agreement and cooperation on the long-term health effects of Covid.