Labour MEP urges European Commission to ensure Malta has access to affordable medicines

Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba warns that the current European Union rules create unfair discrimination against member states with smaller health systems

Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba (inset)
Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba (inset)

Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba has called on the European Commission to ensure the small member states, such as Malta, have access to affordable pharmaceutical products, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Agius Saliba urged the Commission to ensure that the supply of affordable medicine across the EU is genuinely provided to all member states and their EU citizens, including Malta.

He said that current EU rules create unfair discrimination against member states with smaller health systems and pharmaceutical markets, adding that as things stand, the decision to place a product on a country's market is based solely on the pharmaceutical companies' commercial and economic interests.

"Often, these private companies have no interest or incentives to place a medicinal product on the market of small member states, such as Malta. This situation creates difficult access to affordable medicines for Maltese patients, higher prices for pharmaceutical products, and often even the withdrawal of particular products,” the MEP said.

Agius Saliba said Malta has been heavily reliant upon the supply of medicines from or through Great Britain. He added that, unfortunately, with the UK's withdrawal from the EU, Malta and member states in a similar situation will face an immediate problem of access and shortages to pharmaceutical and medicinal products.

"Maltese patients should not be deprived of medicinal products, especially in the middle of a health and pandemic crisis. If a product is authorised in the Single Market, it should be available in all Member States and the Maltese citizens should not be deprived or refused access to medicinal products. That is why I have asked the European Commission to intervene and ensure that public interests are safeguarded, and purely economic interests do not drive access to medicine,” he said.

Ewropej Funded by the European Union

This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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