European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen Thursday said that around US$ 940 million will be invested in the production of vaccines and medicines in Latin American and Caribbean countries.
In a joint statement with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, the European leader also explained that the new partnership will involve the exchange of knowledge and technologies, as well as the creation of a robust legal environment.
The move should boost Latin America's manufacturing capacity, foster equitable access to safe, effective, and affordable healthcare products, and help strengthen health resilience in the region to address endemic and emerging diseases as early as the third quarter of 2022 through joint work between EU and Latin American companies.
The partnership will also help universities, research centers, and scientists work together under the Horizon Europe research and innovation program.
The partnership follows a similar initiative launched last year on manufacturing and access to vaccines, medicines, and health technologies in Africa, a € 1 billion initiative announced by Von der Leyen at the G20 summit in Rome.
By spreading stronger health systems in Latin America through local production of vaccines, the region will be better prepared against future pandemics, according to Team Europe, an initiative of the Spanish government, joined by Germany and Portugal and supported by the European Commission.
We are currently defining our financial support to the biotechnology sector in Cuba and Mexico, and we are exploring options for support in Chile, Costa Rica, Uruguay, and Colombia, von der Leyen said during the presentation of the project in Brussels.
Spain is committed to incorporating healthcare into its relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean, promoting technology transfer and developing it locally. Prime Minister Sánchez pointed out that the newer developments will be focused on vaccine technology based on messenger RNA, adaptable and applicable to the future needs of the region.
”In order to favor the production of vaccines and the resilience of health systems, we propose to work initially on three axes. First, transferring technology and research, as the president of the (European) Commission said; second, exchanging experiences in regulation, which is fundamental; and third, mobilizing private sector investment in this region,” said Sánchez.