Critical infrastructure (23 April 2020)
Full-service healthcare distributors are recognised in most EU Member States as part of the critical infrastructure.
As lockdowns measures have been extended by national authorities, it was essential that full-service healthcare distributors could maintain staffing levels and services, including deliveries to and within quarantined / locked- down / restricted areas.
The critical infrastructure status confers full-service healthcare distributors the means to ensure the stability needed to maintain the necessary activity levels for medicines distribution, which could include among others:
- Special permits for drivers to allow access to quarantined / locked-down / restricted areas and to travel without restrictions
- Staff permitted to travel to their work sites
- Special status for premises to have “rapid decontamination” or deep cleans, if required
- Staff access to on-duty schools and creches, where possible
- Staff access to special funding measures, where possible
- Access to PPE for staff and drivers
- Support from army or police, if necessary
These essential measures ought to be deployed across Member States to ensure that all European patients can rely on a fair and adequate access to their medicines. That is why GIRP has been calling on national authorities, which have not done so yet to urgently classify full-service healthcare distributors as critical infrastructure for the ultimate benefit of patients.