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EU health ministers to discuss how to improve pandemic preparedness

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 15.7.2020 13.01 | Published in English on 16.7.2020 at 10.05
Press release

The health ministers of the European Union (EU) will hold an informal video conference on Thursday 16 July to discuss how to better prepare for communicable diseases and what can be learned from the coronavirus pandemic. State Secretary Saila Ruuth will represent Finland at the meeting.

International cooperation is crucial for preventing communicable diseases

The coronavirus pandemic has shown how important international cooperation and coordination are in preventing communicable diseases. In future, it is necessary to ensure that the Member States and the EU are better prepared and able to act as effectively as possible during possible pandemics.

For this reason, Germany, as the current holder of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, proposes that the operating conditions of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) be secured and its mandate strengthened. Finland supports this initiative. ECDC is a leading independent agency in Europe in providing scientific guidance and risk assessments.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Member States, Finland included, have used the evidence-based summaries, forecasts and recommendations prepared by ECDC. 

Ensuring availability of medicines in the EU

The coronavirus pandemic caused disruptions in the supply of medicines, and the growing demand for certain medicines within a short period of time increased the risk of disruptions. The global pandemic has shown that the EU is dependent on both the raw materials used for the production of medicines and the end products that are sourced from non-EU countries. 

For this reason, the German Presidency proposes that one of the priorities of the forthcoming Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe should be ensuring the availability of medicines across the EU. Finland considers it important that the forthcoming Strategy will also take account of preparedness for future crisis. We need to monitor the demand and supply of medicines in an open and timely manner so that we can ensure the availability of medicines in all circumstances. 

Inquiries:

Veli-Mikko Niemi, Director General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 425