Equity in healthcare
Ensuring equitable access to vaccine, medicinal products and medical equipment in a situation of shortage
Health resources are limited and a constant concern for healthcare authorities. This can be exacerbated by events such as epidemiological outbreaks, manufacturing supply problems and changes in economic dynamics, thereby creating tension in the health system. In such instances, scarce healthcare resources need to be allocated based on strict prioritisation criteria. It is essential to ensure an equitable access while avoiding improvisation based on approaches of individual institutions or the intuition of healthcare providers in real time. After the adoption of the SAP and in the light of the public health crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDBIO decided to first elaborate a Statement on COVID-19 and vaccination which was published on 22 January 2021. As a second step the Steering Committee for Human Rights in the fields of Biomedicine and Health worked on a recommendation on equitable access to medicinal products and medical equipment in a situation of shortage. The CDBIO, at its 2nd plenary meeting (2-4 November 2022), approved the finalised draft recommendation with a view to its presentation to the Committee of Ministers for adoption. On 1 of February the Committee of ministers adopted the recommendation.
Ensuring that priorities in accessing scarce healthcare resources are set consistently and with respect for human dignity and the protection of human rights.
The objective of this recommendation is to promote equitable access to medicinal products and medical equipment in a situation of shortage and safeguard the fundamental rights of individuals who need them for serious or life-threatening health conditions. More specifically, the recommendation addresses the general and procedural principles to be followed to ensure equitable access. It also addresses the system that member States should have in place to prevent, prepare for, and mitigate situations of shortage.
- Recommendation CM/Rec(2023)1 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on equitable access to medicinal products and medical equipment in a situation of shortage | February 2023
- Statement - COVID-19 and vaccines : ensuring equitable access to vaccination during the current and future pandemics | January 2021