Strengthening the European Immune System
Germany’s Presidency of the EU Council was dominated by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut dedicated itself to ensuring strong and independent medicinal product regulation in Europe.
In the second half of 2021, Germany took over the Presidency of the European Council in the middle of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. This meant that the motto “Together for Europe’s recovery” was more relevant than ever. The challenges of the pandemic have revealed potential for improvement in European healthcare. Whether it concerned the speedy procurement of PPE such as masks and gowns, rapid antigen tests or effective and safe vaccines, it became clear that cooperation and ability to react must be significantly strengthened within Europe.
The EU Council Presidency gave us the opportunity to play a part in actively shaping the future development of European medicinal product regulation and thus to contribute to a strong and innovative Europe.
Prof. Klaus Cichutek
President of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut
The Federal Ministry of Health set the goals for the Council Presidency accordingly: Europe must find ways of reshoring the production of critical medicinal products and medical devices back to Europe and of building up European reserves. In addition, European health organisations such as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) should be strengthened so that they can carry out pan-EU tasks more efficiently. The expertise of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut was in demand, as one of its strenghths is cooperation and knowledge transfer within the European network of health authorities.
Contribution to a strong Europe
As part of Germany’s Council Presidency, the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut organised the meetings of important European committees and working parties of the EMA. On account of the pandemic, the meetings were held virtually. The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut used these forums to address important topics and to promote goals such as the development of strategies for the supply of medicinal products, optimisation of marketing authorisation processes and the efficiency of crisis management in Europe.
In a virtual meeting, the European Heads of Medicines Agencies (HMA) discussed in particular how to deal with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and its consequences. The future issues of digitalisation and the use of health data were also on the agenda.
Selected meetings coordinated by the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut
- Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) - EMA
- Committee for Advanced Therapies (CAT) – EMA
- Paediatric Committee (PDCO) – EMA
- Heads of Medicines Agencies - HMA