European Union Health Policy

Presentation on European Union Health Policy by Christopher Birt at our seminar in Sheffield, 11th October 2013

Longer presentation on the health implications of the Common Agricultural Policy

EU Health Programme 2008-13 “Together for Health” is coming to a close. Objectives:
•to increase health security:  emergency planning; patient safety; blood, tissues, cells, etc.;
•to promote health, by addressing health determinants and to tackle health inequalities;
•To generate and disseminate health information;  health information systems.
A new programme EU Health for Growth (2014-20) starts next year
•themes for 2008-13 to be continued;
•new emphases on innovation and sustainability of health services, public health, and cross-border health threats;
•everything to be subsumed into the wider objective for all EU policies and programmes:  to make the EU economy more dynamic, profitable, and export-oriented (linked to Horizon 2020).

Revision of the Tobacco Products Directive

Linda McAvan
Linda McAvan MEP

Expected to be agreed by the end of 2013.  Proposes:

•harmonised framework for tobacco sales, replacing 2001 rules;
•regulates non-tobacco (e.g. electronic and herbal cigarettes) – as pharmaceuticals?;
•labelling and packaging – 75% warnings;
•flavours and “health benefits” (e.g. menthol, liquorice, caffeine, vitamins, taurine) all prohibited;
•internet sales of tobacco products;
•tracking & tracing of tobacco products
Other aspects of tobacco policy
•agriculture:  “whole farm subsidies”; – tobacco is still a subsidised crop
•high tar tobacco and Trade – Tobacco grown in Europe is too high in tar to be sold in Europe.  It goes to developing countries.

Alcohol Policy

3 strands:
•raise awareness of PH concerns at EU and Member State levels;
•initiate actions at EU level, where competence allows;
•support and coordinate national actions;  identify and disseminate good practice.
European Commission  prioritised actions
•projects to reduce alcohol-related harm, especially to children and young people;
•support development of research methodologies to develop indicators;
•monitor binge drinking, especially by girls;
•curbing under-age drinking;
•development of health education programmes;
•supporting healthier and productive workplaces;
•report on the progress on of all of these.

Implementation of the  Patients` Rights Directive – October 25th

National Contact Points:

•who is best placed for this function?
•who has been consulted:
•what is happening?

Prior Authorisation:

•What are the policy objectives here?
•How will this be used?

Prices and tariffs:

•What is reimbursement tariff, and when payable?
•How to ensure non-discrimination?

Information to patients:

•Definition of entitlements – clear to patients?
•What information should be available to patients?