European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control – reinforced mandate
The ECDC will have its competences extended to improve preparedness, surveillance, risk assessment, and early warning and response to face future cross-border health threats, as well as smoothing cooperation between ECDC and other agencies, particularly the EMA. The EPF welcomes these changes, too. Nevertheless, in recognition of the important and growing health impact of chronic diseases, the mandate of the ECDC should be further extended to encompass chronic diseases.
European Medicines Agency – strengthened role to address public health emergencies
EPF welcomed the proposal to extend the EMA’s mandate and resources. The EMA plays an important role in protecting public health in the EU. We believe it does not go far enough and can be improved to address medicines and medical devices shortages, as well as to further support for patient and civil society engagement.
Data sharing in the EU – common European data spaces (new rules)
Given the upcoming proposal for a European Health Data Space, EPF welcomed the request for a regulation on European data governance (Data Governance Act), which will serve as a horizontal framework for data governance across the different sectoral data spaces. Focusing on the contents of the Data Governance Act, EPF highlighted in its public consultation that the European Commission should address a set of elements included in the current version of the proposal that we believe require further attention, especially considering their potential impact on the field of health data.
EU Beating Cancer Plan
Cancer is the second leading cause of death and disability in the EU - it carries with it a huge societal and personal burden due to premature deaths, loss of productivity and the costs associated with its treatment and care. The EU’s Beating Cancer Plan will be implemented using the whole range of Commission funding instruments, with a total of €4 billion being earmarked for actions addressing cancer, including from the EU4Health programme, Horizon Europe and the Digital Europe programme. In its response to it, the EPF highlighted several priorities that we wished to see as part of the Cancer Plan.
EU Commission Pharmaceutical Strategy
The draft pharmaceutical strategy of the European Commission was out for public consultation. The consultation was open until 15 September 2020. Access to and affordability of medicines is one of the stated health policy priorities of the European Commission. EPF prepared a response, based on our previous policy work and our analysis of the Roadmap for the pharmaceutical strategy, on which we submitted initial comments in July.
Digital Education Plan
The European Commission launched an EU-wide public consultation to gather the views of citizens and stakeholders on the future of digital education during the COVID-19 recovery period and beyond. The consultation contributed to the Commission’s proposal for a renewed Digital Education Action Plan, expected in September 2020. Digital transformation was one of the Commission’s priorities as set out in its flagship strategy, a Europe fit for the digital age. The new Digital Education Action Plan will form a key aspect of the Next Generation EU recovery instrument. The Action Plan will support Member States, education and training institutions and citizens in their efforts to adapt to the digital transition and help ensure a fair and inclusive recovery for all.
European Medicines Agencies’ Network Strategy to 2025
EMA and the Heads of Medicines Agencies (HMA) have developed a joint strategy for the next five years that was released for a two-month public consultation. The draft strategy detailed how the European medicines agencies’ network can continue to enable the supply of safe and effective medicines that meet patients’ needs in the face of challenges posed by ever-accelerating developments in science, medicine, digital technologies, globalisation as well as emerging health threats, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.