15 November 2001 15:47 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--The European Commission (EC) has discussed with the pharmaceutical industry the possibility of developing new treatments against biological attacks through a combination of market exclusivity incentives and fast-track authorisations.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the EC said new approaches to facilitate the development of novel vaccines against biological agents such as anthrax or smallpox include the application of the market exclusivity provisions of the European Union (EU) orphan medicinal product regulation, combined with a fast track registration system.
Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society Erkki Liikanen said at the EC/pharmaceutical industry meeting in Strasbourg, France this week: "Health protection and industrial competitiveness policies go hand in hand with putting in place an effective response system to bio-terrorist threats."
The EC said it aims to develop an inventory of possible biological agents and their related treatments, adding that it will work with the pharmaceutical industry to establish the necessary production capabilities and emergency supply mechanisms.
Methods to ensure a co-ordinated approach on surveillance of vaccines have also been discussed, it added.
Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection David Byrne said: "On international and European level we are upgrading our alert systems and clear and precise information on the supply of medical treatments is vital."
The outcomes of the Strasbourg meeting, a follow-up to the recommendations of the Ghent European Council last month, are expected to contribute to the EC's work on developing a programme for EU-wide co-operation and to the preparation later this year of an EC communication tackling the bioterrorism issue in a wider context.
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