The European Commission published its proposal for a European Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) on 16 September. Drawing lessons from COVID-19, HERA will detect, prevent and respond to future health emergencies. This includes, for example, stock piling of medicines and protective equipment, designating sites to ramp up production when needed and planning for immediate and fair distribution of critical products throughout the European Union.
Isabelle Barthès, industriAll Europe Deputy General Secretary:
“During the first weeks or even months of the COVID-19 pandemic, workers had no personal protective equipment – or none that fitted. No masks, gloves… nothing! This must not happen again. We appreciate that HERA aims to build up reserves that can be rolled out without delay.”
IndustriAll Europe supported the European Commission’s plan for an emergency response agency in its policy brief on the pharmaceutical industry in Europe.
HERA’s main tasks are:
- Constant assessment of potential health threats
- Promotion of Research and Development and Innovation of medicinal products and technologies
- Ensuring the availability of technologies and production sites for medicines, vaccines, diagnostics, etc.
- Stockpiling for immediate provision of critical medicinal products and protective equipment
Luc Triangle, industriAll Europe General Secretary states:
“IndustriAll Europe has long advocated for a share of production of these important goods in Europe. We are pleased to see that the European Commission now recognises this. Workers in the pharmaceutical industry stood ready to step up manufacturing when it was needed – and will be ready to do so again if necessary. They must be rewarded for this: with good jobs, good working conditions, pay and training.”