Medicines regulators across Europe have set out their priorities for the next five years in a proposed strategy now out for consultation.
For the first time, a coordinated plan has been produced jointly by the European Medicines Agency and the individual heads of national agencies that regulate medicines in each member state of the European Economic Area.
Priorities include managing the threat of antimicrobial resistance and the contribution that medicines regulators can make to the availability of drugs for conditions such as dementia. Drugs for children and older people and for patients with rare conditions is another focus for medicines regulators until 2020.
Preventing shortages in the medicines supply chain – which the strategy acknowledges has become increasingly complicated – and keeping it free of counterfeit products is also important. In the coming five years, there is likely to be a need for more cross-border collaboration in times of supply disruptions, the plan, entitled ‘EU Medicines Agency Network Strategy to 2020’, points out.
“Greater focus will be given to the increasing threat posed by the illegal supply chain of medicines that operates mostly through websites located in third countries,” it says.
Increased partnership working to tackle unexpected public health emergencies, similar to the action taken in the recent Ebola epidemic, will also be a priority. Responding to public health emergencies could include facilitating the introduction of new treatments or new preventive measures.
The document is out for public consultation until 30 June 2015.