European Commission Presents EU4Health Programme
On 28 May 2020 the European Commission (the Commission) presented details of its new, stand-alone EU4Health Programme, a proposal to commit considerable EU resources to health during the 2021-2027 period (EU4Health). The budget which the Commission proposes to earmark for EU4Health, EUR 9.4 billion, reflects a more than 20-fold increase over the funds previously dedicated to this policy area (EUR 413 million). The Commission first made its plan public as part of the presentation of ‘Next Generation EU’, a EURO 750 billion recovery plan to be embedded in and added to the long term overall EU budget for the 2021-2027 period (see, Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences News Alert, 28 May 2020).
As Article 3 of the Commission’s proposed EU4Health Regulation indicates, EU4Health has three objectives:
- protecting people in the EU from serious cross-border health threats and improving crisis management capacity;
- making medicines, medical devices and other crisis relevant products, available and affordable while supporting innovation;
- trengthening health systems and the health care workforce.
While the scope of EU4Health is clearly designed to tackle the fall-out of the Covid-19 crisis, the programme will also address longer-term health challenges. Concretely, under EU4Health the following action points will be envisaged:
- strengthening the capability of preventing and responding to serious cross-border threats to health and managing health crises;
- creating stockpiles of crisis relevant products and a reserve of medical, healthcare and support staff that can be mobilised in case of a crisis;
- supporting actions to ensure the availability and affordability of crisis relevant products and other health supplies;
- reinforcing the accessibility and resilience of health systems by supporting digital transformation, implementing new care models and addressing inequalities in health;
- focusing on the surveillance, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of non-communicable diseases such as cancer;
- supporting the prudent and efficient use of medicines, including antimicrobials, and reinforcing the more environmentally friendly production and disposal of medicines and medical devices;
- developing, implementing and enforcing Union health legislation and providing reliable data to underpin policy making and monitoring and promoting the use of health impact assessments of proposed policies;
- supporting integrated work among Member States.
A Commission press release on the subject as well as the Commission’s proposed EU4Health Regulation are attached.
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