Posts in "Health" Category

Health policy

A case study for post-Brexit EU policy-making?

The UK vote to leave the European Union in the referendum on 23 June has cast significant uncertainty regarding both the institutional consequences of the vote and the general political direction the European Union will adopt in the run-up to and after a Brexit.

In the field of healthcare, the location of the European Medicines Agency and economic implications for the pharmaceutical industry have already been identified as key post-Brexit challenges. A broader question, however arises regarding the changing dynamics one can expect at EU level on a number of key health dossiers and the impact of Brexit on the general EU approach to health policy.

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Dealing with a weighty issue

Europe has many big problems. Migration, unemployment, social exclusion and the rise of extremism dominate the headlines; but the continent’s obesity epidemic is a problem that is often downplayed.

And it is a major public health concern.

The latest World Health Organization estimates suggest that most adults in the EU are overweight; nearly a quarter are obese. WHO Europe estimates that obesity is responsible for up to eight per cent of health costs and one in every eight deaths.

So what can Europe do to tackle the problem?

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Countering the AMR threat – what role for the EU?

Since 2014, the Commission’s role in health has noticeably changed.

Unless an issue can be reshaped under the umbrella of ‘competitiveness and sustainable public finances’ it is a low priority for the current Commission.

However, politicians will always react to the crises of the day. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one such crisis.

Senior Commission officials even consider AMR as a threat akin to climate change.

Burson-Marsteller Brussels’ Healthcare and Food Practice has put together its view, assessing what role the Commission could play in solving the problem of AMR.

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The cost of medicines: time for a new strategy?

Is pricing and reimbursement of medicines in urgent need of EU-level coordination?

The new trio of EU Council presidencies began this month, with the Dutch government overseeing the first six months of 2016. Slovakia and Malta follow.

All three are working together on shared priorities, but the Dutch are the first to take responsibility for the Council’s agenda. They are expected to seek Council Conclusions on a new approach to pharmaceuticals, focusing on access and costs.

What is the state of access to medicines in the EU?

Burson-Marsteller Brussels’ Healthcare and Food Practice has put together its view, assessing the value and feasibility of a new approach to medicines pricing, and the obstacles that stand in the way.

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Words  Claudia Louati and Sam Kynman
Photo  (c) European Union 2016

Briefing: mHealth on demand

Burson-Marsteller hosted a lunch discussion on Wednesday 16 September on the forthcoming Code of Conduct on mobile health (mHealth) applications, an industry-led initiative launched with the support of the European Commission.

The initiative seeks to foster citizens’ trust and help the development of health applications (‘apps’) while respecting the EU framework on data protection and security.

The debate, held under the Chatham House rule, gathered more than fifty representatives from the EU institutions, industry, trade associations and NGOs at Burson-Marsteller’s premises in Brussels. The discussion was led by Michał Boni MEP (EPP, Poland), Pēteris Zilgalvis, Head of Unit Health and Well-Being at DG Connect, and Michele Pastore, Policy Manager at Samsung Electronics Europe and Chairman of DigitalEurope’s eHealth group.

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Photos  (c) Burson-Marsteller / Suzanne Schols

Five issues facing health policy in the Brexit debate

The big political issues are making the headlines, but how would a British departure from the European Union affect the nuts and bolts of European cooperation?

Burson-Marsteller Brussels hosted a panel discussion on ‘Brexit? The impact on Health Policy and Pharmaceuticals’ last week, with Brussels’ most influential health policy thinkers in attendance.

Here are the five key issues facing EU health policy as the British referendum and a potential Brexit looms.

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Food policy in the EU: what’s on the menu?

The European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andrukaitis has outlined a long list of priorities for his portfolio in the coming years.

These include issues such as crisis management, food safety and better regulation; revision of the decision-making process for genetically-modified organisms (GMOs); anti-microbial resistance (AMR); endocrine disruptors; cloning; animal welfare; and food labelling.

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Digital Single Market – Commission at crossroads in development of digital health

The scope of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy is certainly ambitious: copyright, geo-blocking and online shopping are all covered, with the aim of helping consumers and businesses to realise the potential of the digital revolution.

Dig a little deeper, and you also find numerous references to digital health. This is a welcome move, after more than three years of inactivity since the publication of the eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020, the second roadmap to support the development of digital health (eHealth). But at the moment, the strategy is heavy on analysis of the problems, and light on solutions.

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A European health union?

The new European Commission is focusing on an Energy Union and a Capital Markets Union – but what about a ‘Health Union’?

Addressing the EU Health Policy Forum last week, the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis (pictured), stated that he was favourable to the idea:

It is an idea that has its merits – but one that faces significant hurdles too.

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