Hungary latest EU nation to sign Joint Procurement Agreement

Representatives from Hungary sign the Joint Procurement Agreement to procure medical countermeasures. | Photo courtesy of the European Commission.

Hungary this week became the 18th European Union (EU) country to sign the Joint Procurement Agreement to procure medical countermeasures.

The 2009 outbreak of H1N1 pandemic influenza, also known as avian flu, showcased a weakness in the development, production and distribution of necessary medication and vaccines to affected areas, leading to the creation of new measures for procuring these items.

The agreement said EU member states may engage in joint procurement procedures so that appropriate levels of treatment measures are available in case of an outbreak or to prevent one altogether.

The stipulations allow the purchase of enough vaccinations and medication to treat pandemic diseases, and sufficient amounts of these will be available to participating countries. In addition, member states are treated equally and could benefit from contractual conditions, depending on the specific situation.

The agreement also covers the legality and procedures to procure necessary medication;  14 countries signed the agreement initially in June, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Latvia, Greece, Slovenia, Estonia, Cyprus, Croatia and Belgium. Luxembourg, Romania, Italy and now Hungary signed on later. Absent from the list of countries are France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.

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