EU health ministers to discuss steps to ensure access to medicines
The EU health ministers will meet in Brussels on Thursday 30 November 2023. The ministers will exchange views on safeguarding the EU’s open strategic autonomy in the field of health, particularly on how to ensure the availability of medicines in Europe. They will also approve conclusions on mental health. Minister of Social Security Sanni Grahn-Laasonen will represent Finland at the meeting.
Strengthening open strategic autonomy is important for European healthcare, particularly when it comes to medicines. Finland’s objective is that national and EU resilience be improved, the availability of medicines ensured and preparations made for disruptions in the availability of medicines.
At the ministerial meeting, the discussion will be based on the communication issued by the Commission in October that addresses medicine shortages in the EU. Its objectives are in line with Finland’s views.
“Finland considers it important to prepare for health threats and, in particular, to ensure the availability and security of supply of medicines. This requires strengthening the crisis resilience of supply chains and reducing harmful dependencies by, for example, improving the EU’s own production capacity. Finland also works actively to influence the EU’s pharmaceutical package, which is currently under preparation,” says Minister of Social Security Sanni Grahn-Laasonen.
Ministers to approve conclusions on mental health
At the meeting, the ministers will seek to approve EU-level conclusions on mental health, which include, for the first time, a comprehensive approach to mental health. The conclusions emphasise a broad perspective and take into account the effects that global crises and rapid technological and societal changes have on mental health. Finland has successfully influenced the contents of the conclusions.
During the Spanish Presidency, mental health has featured prominently in different sectors. In addition to the conclusions on mental health that are to be approved now, the Council has negotiated three separate sets of conclusions during the autumn regarding working life, drug use disorders and mental health issues as well as young people. The conclusions support and complement each other.
Bilateral discussions on, among other topics, Drinking Water Directive
In connection with the meeting, Minister Grahn-Laasonen will meet several ministers from other countries. These meetings will focus on, for example, how to influence the implementation of the Drinking Water Directive that is currently being prepared by the Commission.
The ministers will also discuss childhood obesity.
Pasi Korhonen, Director of International Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 175
Niilo Heinonen, Special Adviser, tel. +358 295 163 603
Soile Ridanpää, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 163 506
Email addresses are in the format [email protected]