The EU’s health agenda was introduced to improve public health in the union by:
- Disease prevention and health promotion
- International health initiatives & cooperation
- Tackling cross-border health threats
- National stockpiling of essential products
- Establishing a reserve of medical, healthcare & support staff
- Making sure medical products are available and affordable
- Creating integrated national health systems
The European Commission has announced its priorities for the 2022 health agenda. Here are some of the areas it plans to focus on in the coming year.
Changes to pharmaceutical rules
The European Commission plans to revise its legislative framework for pharmaceuticals and medicines for children and rare diseases. This much-awaited overhaul of the current legislation is expected to be adopted in December 2022.
The EU’s new strategy, which was presented last year, will provide new incentives for the pharmaceutical industry, and this should stimulate innovation in a number of areas that are currently not meeting people’s needs, like pediatric cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
Another unmet medical need that’s mentioned in the strategy is antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This is increasingly becoming a problem for doctors, as it affects their ability to treat infectious diseases and perform routine surgery on patients.
Another key point mentioned in the 2022 agenda is an update to recommendations on cancer screening to EU member states. At the moment, this is limited to breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer. However, the guidelines will be extended to include lung, prostate, and gastric cancer.
Protecting against hazardous substances
The EU’s framework will include policies to protect the public from hazardous substances that could be harmful to human health. According to the WHO. There are almost 800 chemicals that interfere with the hormone system, including receptors or hormone conversion.
Among the hazards, there will be a focus on endocrine disruptors, which are commonly found in food containers, personal care products, pesticides, children’s products, and furniture.
Another substance the Commission is planning to focus on is cancer-causing asbestos, which was commonly used as a building material and can also be found in other products, like roofing shingles and water supply lines.
However, it can cause a number of severe health problems, like lung cancer or cancer of the larynx, ovaries, or mesothelioma. The EU has voted in favor of eliminating asbestos to improve the health of workers and reduce public exposure to the chemical.
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