EU discusses plan to counter bioterrorism

The Commission and representatives of the
pharmaceutical industry have discussed plans this week for an
EU-wide strategy to ensure production, supply and availability
of medicinal products for preventing or treating the effects of
a biological attack. The Commission and industry
representatives explored mechanisms that could be set up to
counter possible attacks by biological agents such as Anthrax
or Smallpox.

The Commission intends to develop an inventory of possible
biological agents and their related treatments to ensure
that the EU is prepared for possible biological warfare.
Together with the industry, the Commission will develop a
strategy to ensure that the necessary production
capabilities and emergency supply mechanisms for medicinal
products are established.

The Commission and pharmaceutical
industry representatives discussed ways to identify
possible threats, and how to ensure treatment or preventive
methods in emergencies.

The participants also discussed the
possibility of encouraging the development of new
treatments through a combination of market exclusivity
incentives and fast-track authorisations.


The European Commission adopted an action plan to respond
to potential threats of bio and nuclear terrorism on 12
October (see EURACTIV of
11 October 2001

). Another package of measures will be adopted at a
conference organised by the Belgian Presidency of the EU in
the beginning of December. This conference will prepare a
short, medium and long-term working programme to defend the
EU from threats of nuclear, biological and chemical


Later this year, the Commission will develop a programme
for EU-wide co-operation and prepare a Communication on
countering biological warfare threats.


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