Main Article Content
EU public procurement, Joint Procurement Agreement, advance purchase agreements, COVID-19
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, public procurers have faced an uphill battle to secure urgently required medical countermeasures. Contracting authorities in the face of extreme urgency at the start of the pandemic relied heavily on emergency provisions to deactivate procedural requirements and conclude contracts on the basis of direct negotiation. Additional procurements were conducted at a European Union (EU) level, leveraging the buying power of member states to rapidly secure the acquisitions of medical equipment, medicines, vaccines, booster shots and more recently COVID-19 therapeutics. The article offers an analysis of the use of the negotiation procedures and the European coordinated efforts to conclude COVID-19-related contracts. As we optimistically move towards the final stages of the pandemic, this article argues that it is time to retire the use of emergency procurements. It contends that such emergency provisions are no longer available for use and procurers, if not already, must return to the use of fully transparent and competitive procurement procedures. Furthermore, it suggests that the EU should build on the success of the coordinated approach of competitive tendering and extend the use of the Joint Procurement Agreement to prepare for future cross-border health crises and acquire in-demand medical countermeasures.