The EU Executive Steering Group on Shortages of Medicines Caused by Major Events held a virtual meeting on 3 June 2020. Regular participation in the meeting of the steering group was extended to all the heads of the national competent authorities (NCAs) of the EU Member States to discuss the measures taken by EU authorities to ensure the continued availability of medicines in Europe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to prepare for a potential second wave of coronavirus infections and to ensure that patients in Europe will have access to crucial medicines, the extended steering group continued to discuss how to improve the forecasting of future demand of medicines used in intensive care units (ICUs) and of other medicines and how to better match the estimated demand with the available supply.
The steering group agreed to further improve the collection of demand data, taking into account best practices at national level, and to subsequently share these data within the European Medicines Regulatory Network. For this purpose, it was decided that EMA will establish an ad hoc working group that will be tasked with the development of a common framework for collecting and sharing demand data in the EU/EEA, in view of a possible next wave of the current COVID-19 pandemic in the autumn. The ad hoc group on forecasting demand data in the EU/EEA will also determine which medicines will be included in this exercise, which might go beyond ICU medicines, and will define adequate metrics for data collection at EU level. The new group will comprise experts nominated by the NCAs and have a limited time duration.
The extended steering group will decide on the final composition of the ad hoc working group at its next meeting. The new working group is expected to develop a reflection paper summarising best practices from national forecasting models and providing practical recommendations for a harmonised approach.