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Estonia is establishing a strategic stockpile of veterinary medicinal products

Submitted by ospa on Thu, 02/15/2024 - 13:55

Press release of the Estonian Stockpiling Agency
14 February 2024

By this autumn at the latest, the Estonian Stockpiling Agency (ESPA) will form a strategic stockpile of a few dozen veterinary medicinal products critical for food production.

Following a public procurement, ESPA entered into contracts with pharmaceutical wholesalers in early February, whereby the companies undertake to build up an additional one month’s stock of some veterinary medicinal products, store it, and constantly renew it. ESPA reimburses contractual partners for the cost of holding additional stock, but does not buy out the medicines.

According to Priit Ploompuu, a member of the Management Board of the Estonian Stockpiling Agency, the aim of the veterinary medicinal product stockpile is to increase security of supply and mitigate the risks associated with possible long-term supply disruptions.

‘The food security of Estonia consists of many layers – from increasing the crisis preparedness of stores in case of power outages, to diversifying the supply chains of inputs essential for food production and building up stocks. The stockpile of veterinary medicinal products will help keep our livestock and poultry industries operational, for example in the event of a global shortage of a medicinal product or a major disease outbreak. In the event of global supply disruptions, it will be very difficult for Estonia to compete with large countries in the purchase of medicinal products, and its own stockpile is therefore necessary,’ Ploompuu explained.

The new stockpile of veterinary medicinal products will include vaccines, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory drugs, among others.

Experts from the Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture, the State Agency of Medicines, the Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences of the Estonian University of Life Sciences, and the Estonian Veterinary Association helped ESPA prepare the forming of the veterinary medicinal product stockpile.

According to Toomas Unt, Crisis Manager at the Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture, ensuring food security is a joint effort between the state and the food sector to create crisis resilience and the best solutions.

‘The sector is not prepared to handle the risks of major crises alone on a daily basis. That is why the Estonian Stockpiling Agency, on behalf of the Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture, has made another commendable contribution to ensuring that all of us have food on the table even in times of crisis,’ Unt said.

Under the contracts, wholesalers of medicinal products have eight months to form the stockpile, but it is very likely that the vast majority of the additional supply of medicinal products will be in stock before the summer.

The wholesalers may not take the strategic stockpile of veterinary medicinal products into use independently and may only use the stockpile with the permission of the Estonian Stockpiling Agency, subject to a government decision.

Pursuant to the Public Information Act, the exact nomenclature, quantities, locations, and criteria for use of the state’s operating stockpile are not public information.

The Estonian Stockpiling Agency, which is a state enterprise, started operating in the summer of 2021 and is responsible for stockpiling, storing, and organising the utilisation of essential goods needed by the Estonian population in emergencies.