Towards A European Health Union

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      Building A Resilient European Health System

      Health is not an exclusive competence of the EU but the responsibility of each Member State. The European Union has a role of coordination and support of national actions to guarantee an effective health protection and safety policy to European citizens.

      The COVID crisis that we have been experiencing for more than a year, has revealed gaps in preparedness and emergency responses to health threats and has highlighted need for stronger and more efficient coordination of the European countries but also globally.

      Governance and preparedness are essential in times of crisis. It is up to EU legislators to evolve the already existing structures such as the EMA and ECDC in order to strengthen their capacity to protect and promote human (and animal) health more efficiently. In addition, the European Commission proposes the creation of a European Health Emergency Response and Preparedness Authority (HERA) to address health threats in a faster, more comprehensive and coordinated manner.

      Strong EU’s national health systems are crucial and can be achieved through private and public investment. Investment is notably needed for a rapid digital transformation of healthcare with a robust digital infrastructure.

      To meet these challenges, the Commission adopted a Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe last November. The objective of the Strategy is twofold: to ensure the security and diversification of supply sources across value chain and to strengthen the competitiveness and innovation of the European pharmaceutical industry.

      Strategic cooperation among the Member States remains the cornerstone of the construction of a Europe of Health. This entails information sharing, identification of best practices, in-depth evaluation of innovative medicinal products and treatments and above all, procurement practices that ensure timely and equitable access to affordable innovative medicines.

      A Europe of Health also means ensuring that the regulatory framework for pharmaceuticals and medical technologies meets the needs of EU patients and health systems, while enabling the EU to remain a global industrial leader.

      These initiatives are an opportunity for the EU to take the first steps towards a Health Union. Its success will depend on the commitment and ability to collaborate of all actors in the pharmaceutical value chain and, more importantly, on the Member States’ willingness to create an effective European Health Union.

      This edition of the European Files addresses all of these points through articles by various European leaders and experts, as well as contributions by high level executives from the health and pharmaceutical industry in Europe. 

      Editorial by
      Laurent Ulmann


      Laurent ULMANN

      • A Health Union to prepare Europe for health threats across borders
        Margaritis Schinas, European Commission Vice-President in charge of promoting our European Way of life
      • Reinforcing our cooperation at EU level to further strengthen our health systems
        Marta Temido, Minister for Health, Portugal
      • Providing continuing support to health systems
        Olivier Véran, Minister for Solidarity and Health, France
      • Minimizing risks related to pandemics to
        better protect communities
        Hans Kluge, WHO Europe Regional Director
      • Enhancing co-operation to create better
        health policies for safer and healthier lives
        Francesca Colombo, Head – OECD Health Division
      • EMA shapes up for its post-pandemic role
        Emer Cooke, Executive Director for the
        European Medicines Agency.
      • Creating a safer and healthier Europe by
        strengthening ECDC’S mandate
        Andrea Ammon, ECDC Director
      • Transparency as a strength – the EU
        administration’s role in health policy
        Emily O’Reilly, European Ombudsman
      • When in a pandemic, call on your development bank
        Thomas Östros, Vice-President, European Investment Bank

      l. Shaping A Post-Pandemic Public Health Strategy

      • Towards a European Health Emergency Plan
        Véronique Trillet-Lenoir, MEP (Renew Europe, France), Member of the ENVI Committee, Rapporteur for the European Parliament on the Regulation on serious cross-border threats to health
      • A pharmaceutical strategy for Europe to promote health security
        Sandra Galina, Director General – DG SANTE, European Commission
      • A new public-private collaborative approach for
        stronger European pandemic preparedness
        Thomas Triomphe, Executive Vice President,
        Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi
      • Affordable medicines for all EU citizens
        Nicolae Ștefănuță, MEP (Renew Europe, Romania),
        Member of the BUDG and ENVI Committees, European Parliament
      • A forward-looking public private collaboration
        to fit with a new vaccine era
        Sibilia Quilici, Executive Director, Vaccines Europe
      • Role-Players: The importance of patients in
        co-designing Europe’s future health systems
        Marco Greco, President, European Patients’ Forum (EPF)
      • Mental Health – a pandemic we can prepare for
        Maria Walsh, MEP, EPP Group, Fine Gael Party (Ireland),
        Co-chair MEP Alliance for Mental Health
      • How to further engage European citizens to improve the health system and make it more resilient and efficient
        Mariano Votta, Responsible EU Affairs at Cittadinanzattiva, Director Active Citizenship Network
      • Improving patient survival and quality of life
        through an effective European Health Union
        Antonella Cardone, Director, European Cancer
        Patient Coalition (ECPC)
      • Health inequalities in the European Health Union
        Dr Milka Sokolović, Director General European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)
      • Prevention is the best cure – A plead for a European health union to solve medicine shortages
        Jan Huitema, MEP, (Renew Europe Group/Netherlands), Member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
      • The European Health Union: Why a Shared Vision for Immunization beyond pandemic times is needed
        Anders Schiermer, Vaccines Policy & Patient Engagement Director, Mid Europe, MSD
      • Guaranteeing access to quality medicines and
        healthcare to strengthen the health system in Europe
        Susanne Keitel, Director at European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare (EDQM)
      • Resilience and the need for a continuum of
        responsibility in the pharma industry:
        The French experience of Single Points of Contact
        Carine Wolf-Thal, President of the National Council French Chamber of Pharmacists –
        Ordre national des pharmaciens
        Frédéric Bassi, President of the Council of Industrial Pharmacists French Chamber of Pharmacists –
        Ordre national des pharmaciens
      • Building Adult Immunisation Back Better in the
        Wake of the Pandemic
        Thomas Breuer, MD, MSc. Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, GSK Vaccines
        Sue Middleton, MBE. Vice President, Communications and Government Affairs, GSK Vaccines
      • Innovating for Sustainable Health Systems
        in the European Union
        Brandon Mitchener, Interim Executive Director, Health First Europe

      II. Enabling A Competitive Healthcare Industry in Europe

      • The digital healthcare transformation as a catalyst for resilient healthcare system
        Cristian Bușoi, MEP (EPP, Romania), Chair of the ITRE Committee, European Parliament
      • Building strategic independence for the European pharmaceutical industry
        Kerstin Jorna, Director-General of DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission
      • InvestEU: accelerate the EU’s strategic investment
        José Manuel Fernandes, MEP (EPP Group) rapporteur of Invest EU
      • ‘European Health Union’: When political imperatives risk getting in the way of good policy
        Andrea Chiarello, Head of EU Government Affairs – Pfizer
      • Addressing medicine shortages:
        the symbol of the creation of a Europe of Health
        Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé, MEP (EPP Group – France), Vice-President BECA Commission & Member of the ENVI Committee
      • How to build a European Health Union
        Nathalie Moll, Director General, EFPIA
      • The urge of medicine accessibility
        Sara Cerdas, MEP (S&D, Portugal), Member of the ENVI Committee, European Parliament
      • Research and Innovation brings Europe together
        Irene Norstedt, Director – People Directorate, DG Research & Innovation, European Commission
      • The EU needs more people-centric
        technological progress
        Nils Torvalds, MEP (RENEW EUROPE / Finland), Member of the ENVI Committee.
      • Fostering innovative technologies:
        drawing lessons from what works
        Alexander Natz, EUCOPE Secretary-General
      • Harmonization of EU minimum standards for quality health care, can help to improve the preparation and coordination in case of health crisis
        Monika Benova, MEP (S&D Group, Slovakia) Quaster, Member ENVI Committee, European Parliament