Medical supplies strong as EU announces €50m stockpile of equipment

New stockpile will be available to Member States fighting impact of coronavirus

Irish medicine supplies remain strong despite Covid-19, the Irish pharmaceutical trade association has said as the European Union announced a new €50 million stockpile of medical equipment for use by Member States.

Medicines for Ireland, which supplies the majority of medicine in the Republic, said there was little evidence to suggest that the State faces supply issues as members had plenty of stock secured as part of their planning for Brexit.

"Irish consumers can be reassured that additional stocks of medicines are routinely built into the Irish supply chain, which will allow us to meet any increase in demand," said chairman David Delaney, who is also European director of policy and market access at pharma giant Mylan.

He was speaking as the European Commission said it was creating a stockpile of equipment such as ventilators and protective masks for use by healthcare workers across the EU.


“With the first ever common European reserve of emergency medical equipment we put EU solidarity into action. It will benefit all our Member States and all our citizens. Helping one another is the only way forward,” said president Ursula von der Leyen.

In addition to ventilators and masks, the rescEU stockpile will include laboratory supplies, vaccines and therapeutics.

The Emergency Response Coordination Centre will manage the distribution of supplies to ensure it goes where it is needed most.

The European Commission said it would finance 90 per cent of the cost of the stockpile, with Member States bearing the cost for the remaining 10 per cent.

It has not yet been decided where the stockpile will be hosted, the commission said.

Member States are also in the process of purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE), respiratory ventilators and items necessary for coronavirus testing under the EU’s joint procurement agreement.

The commission said the coordinated approach gives Member States a stronger negotiating position with industry on availability and price of medical products.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist