The European Commission acknowledged the challenges regarding access to medicine, shortages, and environmental impact of the pharmaceutical industry – e.g. the pollution it may cause in groundwaters – and it states that this reform will address these issues.
One of the key objectives of the reform is to create an European Single Market for medicines, to improve availability and affordability of medicine. With regards to medicine research, the reform aims to establish a framework that accommodates innovation through the European Medicines Agency (EMA) – by speeding up scientific evaluation and reducing administrative burden. According to the commission, this will also provide business and industry incentives. In addition, the reform prioritises researching into antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
AMR is considered to be one of the major health threats, therefore it has been on the radar of EU science-policy actors. Amongst numerous other AMR-related events and initiatives, in 2016, the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) and EuChemS co-organised an event on antimicrobial resistance, and the European Commission also held a public consultation on the topic, to which EuChemS responded to.
To continue the reform’s implementation, the proposal, which was called “another central pillar to our European Health Union” by Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides, will be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council.