The FINANCIAL — The European Commission has signed a joint procurement framework contract with the pharmaceutical company Gilead for the supply of up to 500,000 treatment courses of Veklury, the brand name for Remdesivir, and the opportunity to increase supply beyond the 500,000 treatment courses. There are 36 signatories of the Joint Procurement Agreement participating in this joint procurement, including all EU countries, EEA countries, the UK, as well as six candidate countries and potential candidates (Albania, the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo* and Bosnia and Herzegovina). All participating countries can now place their orders to procure Veklury directly. Veklury is at this stage the only medicine with a conditional marketing authorisation in the EU for the treatment of COVID-19 patients needing oxygen supply.
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Today we secure access to Remdesivir for the treatment of up to 500,000 patients in need. We are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to ensure that safe and efficient therapeutics are available against COVID-19. Through our EU Joint Procurements, we are empowering countries across Europe to join forces and get access to vital equipment and medicines. We are always stronger together, and this is European solidarity in action against COVID-19.”
The signature of this joint procurement framework contract follows the Commission’s contract with Gilead to secure 33,380 treatment courses of Veklury that have been distributed across the EU and the UK since August. This contract was financed from the Commission’s Emergency Support Instrument (ESI), worth a total of EUR 70 million.
The treatment courses purchased with ESI funding have helped to cover the immediate needs from August until October to ensure that critical patients receive the treatments. The medication has been disbursed in several instalments. The joint procurement contract will now ensure that countries will continue to have an uninterrupted supply of Veklury if they decide to procure the product.
The Joint procurement is an instrument that the European Commission also used earlier this year to ensure participating countries had additional access to personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, testing supplies or ICU medicines. This is now the sixth joint procurement procedure successfully implemented.
Overall, Member States have been able to use the EU joint procurement instrument to place orders for items such as PPE from April, allowing them to access a scarce market of products with better conditions. Contracts for personal protective equipment, ventilators and laboratory equipment allow Member States to order critical supplies for above EUR 3.3 billion over the course of one year.
More joint procurement procedures are being prepared:
A joint procurement procedure for the supply of medical equipment for COVID-19 vaccination was launched on 28 September. It includes 27 types of equipment grouped under six categories: vaccine carriers, waste containers, injecting devices, disinfectants, personal protective equipment and anaesthetic consumables.
A joint procurement process for essential ICU medicines is in the stage of finalisation and countries can start placing orders in the next days. The process covers medicines for intensive care in six areas (analgesics, antibiotics, muscle relaxers, anaesthetics, resuscitation, other).