Combating corona: European standards for medical supplies made freely available

European Union bureaucrats have stepped up to the plate and to provide a small but significant contribution to combat Covid-19. The combat against the spread of the Corona-virus is challenging due the great shortage of face masks and other personal protective equipment for medical staff. In an effort to help increase the availability of masks, gowns and gloves the European regulators and standardizers try to remove any obstacle to increase production by making the European harmonised standards available to producers free of charge.

Upon the urgent request of the Commission, the European standards bodies CEN and CENELEC, in collaboration with all their members, have agreed to immediately make available a number of European standards for certain medical devices and personal protective equipment. This action will help both EU and third-country companies willing to manufacture these items to swiftly start production and place products on the internal market more easily while ensuring a high degree of safety.

The agreement has immediate effect. The 11 standards developed by CEN and potentially 3 additional ones developed jointly with ISO that are made available cover common filtering masks, medical gloves and protective clothing.

Eye contact.
Photographer: Ani Kolleshi | Source: Unsplash

How the free access to these standards helps increasing production

Providing free access to the national adoptions of these European standards helps both EU and third-country companies which are reconverting their production lines to manufacture quickly these critical items for preventing the coronavirus pandemic. The use of the standards will enable companies that use them to access the market for such fundamental medical and protection equipment quicker and to provide those in need with such medical equipment.

Normally, standards must be purchased and used in line with the intellectual property right rules. The copyright of the standards lies with the organisations, which have developed the standards. The derogation from this business model is a strong European response to address the shortage problem of protective equipment deriving from the Covid-19 epidemics.

The standards are available for free download from the websites of CEN national members.

List of available standards:

In addition, possibly:

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