What was supposed to be released shortly after Christmas is now just on time: the December Health Policy Update from EMSA. The relaxing and board meeting and European of Ethics preparation *cough* took some time.
Please enjoy the last Update of the year 2014, have a happy and healthy new year and watch out for even more EMSA policy work in 2015.
European Medical Students’ Association (EMSA)
Policy Making Officer 20014-15
The new European Commission released their political guidelines “A New Start for Europe: My Agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change”. Behind this pathetic slogan you will find a 24 pages document with ten top priority policy areas. The range from Jobs and Growth over Climate Change to new Migration Policy. What is interesting for us is point 6. A reasonable and balanced Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. Otherwise health-related topics are a bit under the table and found at discrimination and data protection. So anything concrete? Take a look at the next paragraph!
Besides the political guidelines there is a new work program for 2015. Take a peek here. This is in parts more and in parts less concrete and provides some work programe for all the ten top priority policy areas mentioned above and in the guidelines. What sounds interesting is “2. A Connected Digital Single Market” talking about a common European data protection reform and complementing the regulatory telecommunications environment. Do I hear eHealth anywhere?
We have some more news about TTIP and the maternity leave proposal. I may integrate some background information on this in the next newsletter.
If you’re interested you can find more of the EC work program here: http://ec.europa.eu/atwork/key-documents/index_en.htm
3) New prices for pills?
The Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union set one of their focuses in their presidency on the review of the Directive 89/105/EEC on the transparency of measures regulating the prices of medical products. You see that Directive is quite old (from 1989) and is (partly) about ensuring that EU member states do not contravene the principle of the free movement of goods when regulating drug prices and reimbursements by national healthcare systems. So where is the problem? One of them is the kind of new generic market, which has a different pricing mechanism. Right now there is a delay in time to market medicinal products, taking over 180 days to get an decision and an average of 140 days for generic medicines. These period could be much shorter and are, according to the commission, affecting the companies and patients as well. One of the proposed policy options is to revise the directive to improve the enforcements of the time-limits. We will see how this develops.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development together with the European Commission released a study presenting the latest information on health and health system in European countries. Be ready for some numbers:
• The EU has (still) the highest level of alcohol consumption
in the world (yay or nay?)
• Obesity as well as overweight is increasing in the EU (nay)
• But life expectancy is still rising (yay)
• EU has a 2% decrease of hospital beds per year while the number of doctors and nurses in on the rise.
• The budget allocated to health is between 11.8% (NL) and 5.6% (RO) as of GDP with an average of 8.7%.
One more thing:
Always wanted to feel like you’re standing in the European Parliament giving a speech. Get as close to it as you can in two minutes and experience this high-resolution close-up.