Stella Kyriakides Commissioner-Designate for Health
Stella Kyriakides, a member of the Cypriot parliament, a trained psychologist and a forceful advocate of patient rights (she is a past President of Europa Donna, the breast cancer patient group), has been entrusted with the health portfolio by Ursula von der Leyen, the President-elect of the incoming European Commission. Like the other designated Commissioners, Ms. Kyriakides’ appointment still has to be approved by the European Parliament, but with her colleagues she is expected to take up her position in November 2019.
In yesterday’s mission letter to Ms. Kyriakides (see attached), Ms. von der Leyen requests to focus on the following health priorities:
- Supply of affordable medicines – This rubrique covers significant topics such as health technology assessment; the ongoing regulatory review of medicines; and medicine shortages. Ms. von der Leyen specifies that “[Ms. Kyriakides] should support the European pharmaceutical industry to ensure that it remains an innovator and world leader”.
- E-health and the creation of a European Health Data Space.
- Implementation of the European One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance.
- Vaccination – The new Commissioner is supposed to communicate persuasively the benefits and necessities of vaccination.
- Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan – The new Commissioner will be expected to support Member States in improving prevention and care.
- Medical devices – The new Commissioner is faced with the daunting task of making sure that the recently renewed regulatory framework governing medical devices gets implemented and becomes operational on time.
These priorities are backed up by administrative changes that will involve the move of key competencies from Directorate General GROW to Directorate General SANTE causing DG SANTE to be put in charge of the full range of pharmaceutical issues as well as medical devices. DG SANTE will also continue to oversee relevant parts of the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA) and will carry on managing the relations with a range of other agencies such as the European Medicines Agency.