As per credible sources, the European Union is reportedly planning to take bold steps to improve drug availability during emergency situations by avoiding patent rights as well as by encouraging pharmaceutical firms to move production to Europe.
The move comes on the heels of rising concerns regarding shortage of drugs, especially since the outbreak of COVID-19, further resulting in trade disruptions along with ban on drug exports.
It is to be noted that the alleged mandatory licensing is approved as a waiver of usual regulations under the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in emergencies and may be extended throughout the coronavirus outbreak.
In this context, European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), reportedly stated that compulsory licensing is not an efficient policy for drug access and puts at risk any opportunity to invest in medical innovation at a time when people across Europe and around the world are expecting answers to the uncertainties stemmed by the coronavirus crisis.
Since the initial months of COVID-19 outbreak, legislators and advocates have reportedly urged the EU to utilize the WTO waiver in order to obtain faster access to possible new coronavirus vaccines and medicines, most of which have been produced externally.
The EU is reportedly planning to propose recommendations to fix gaps in the supply chains for better drug access across the globe. This could result in incentives or less stringent measures which will seemingly convince manufacturers to shift medicines production from India and China to Europe, owing to EU’s reliability on medical imports.
If sources are to be believed, while the EU executive have declined to use the WTO waiver and entered into multi-billion-euro deals with drug manufacturers to obtain COVID-19 injections and therapeutics, the pandemic resulted in re-examination of current procedures, which are primarily under the the European Union.