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After more than two years of planning, the European Commission on Wednesday will release long-awaited draft legislation poised to transform the way medicines are brought to market and accessed across much of Europe.

The far-reaching and ambitious effort includes proposals that could upend the status quo — reworking incentives for drug development, preparing for drug shortages, altering the availability of medicines throughout the European Union, and streamlining the European Medicines Agency in order to speed drug approvals, among other things.


The goal is to make the European pharmaceutical industry more competitive and at the same time, make it easier for everyone in all 27 European Union member states to get the medicines they need, regardless of where they live. But this is a tall order. The legislation has been delayed twice already, and its introduction will likely spur haggling that could drag on for two years or more.

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