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Guides on the EU Health policy.
New research on rare diseases
The European Commission has, on Rare Disease Day 2013, announced EUR 144 million of new funding for 26 research projects on rare diseases. The projects will help improve the lives of some of the 30 million Europeans suffering from a rare disease. The selected projects bring together over 300 participants from 29 countries in Europe and beyond, including teams from leading academic institutions, SMEs and patients' groups. The goal is to pool resources and work beyond borders, to get a better understanding of rare diseases and find adequate treatments.
Protection against exposure to hazardous chemicals
The European Commission has proposed to better protect workers from risks linked to exposure to chemicals at the workplace.
Overview of smoke-free legislation and its implementation in the EU
Protection from second hand smoke has improved considerably in the EU, according to a report published by the European Commission on 22 February 2013. 28% of Europeans were exposed to second hand smoke in bars in 2012 - down from 46% in 2009. The report is based on self-reporting by the 27 Member States, following the 2009 Council Recommendation on Smoke-free Environments (2009/C 296/02), which called upon governments to adopt and implement laws to fully protect their citizens from exposure to tobacco smoke in enclosed public places, workplaces and public transport. The report dispels concerns about smoking bans impacting negatively on the revenues of bars and restaurants, by showing that the economic impact has been limited, neutral and even positive over time. However, the report also illustrates that some Member States are lagging behind, in terms of comprehensive laws protecting public health, and enforcement.
EU drug markets report: key findings
Europe is entering an important new era in the supply and demand for illicit drugs -- a development which is challenging current policies and responses. This is according to the first joint EU drug markets report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and Europol released today in Brussels. The two EU agencies have joined forces to provide the first strategic analysis of the European illicit drug market in its entirety. In the report, they describe a market which is increasingly dynamic, innovative and quick to react to challenges and one which requires an equally dynamic, innovative and agile response across Europe. The report unveils the ‘changing face of organised crime in Europe’: while, historically, the EU drug market has focused on specific drugs trafficked by specialised operators along well-defined routes, the contemporary market is more ‘fluid’, with new routes and multi-substance consignments becoming more common.
Towards a new EU law on Tobacco Products
The European Commission on 18 December adopted a landmark proposal to revise the EU Tobacco Products Directive. The proposal is a substantial revision of the current EU law and proposes new and strengthened rules on tobacco products.
eHealth action plan 2012-2020
The European Commission has unveiled an Action Plan to address barriers to the full use of digital solutions in Europe's healthcare systems. The goal is to improve healthcare for the benefit of patients, give patients more control of their care and bring down costs. While patients and health professionals are enthusiastically using telehealth solutions and millions of Europeans have downloaded smartphone apps to keep track of their health and wellbeing, digital healthcare has yet to reap its great potential to improve healthcare and generate efficiency savings.
EU adopts list of approved flavouring substances
Flavouring substances in food will become even safer and more transparent thanks to two pieces of legislation adopted today by the European Commission. Only those flavouring substances featuring on the approved lists will be permitted for use by the food industry. Used to alter the taste and/or odour of food, flavourings substances have a long history of safe use in a wide variety of foods, such as soft drinks, confectionery, cereals, cakes and yoghurts, and have now been evaluated at EU level. These two new pieces of legislation will clarify and harmonise the use of flavouring substances within the single market: The first Regulation1 provides for a new EU wide list of flavouring substances which can be used in food and will apply from 22 April 2013, giving time for the EU food industry to adapt to the new rules. All flavouring substances not in the list will be prohibited after a phasing out period of 18 months. The second Regulation2 concerns transitional measures for other flavourings such as flavourings made from non-food sources and will apply from 22 October 2012. The new list includes over 2,100 authorised flavouring substances. A further 400 will remain on the market until EFSA concludes its evaluation. These have been used for a long time and have already been assessed as safe by other scientific bodies.
EU Regulatory Framework for Medical Devices and In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices
Ranging from simple sticking plasters to the most sophisticated life-supporting machines, medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devices are central to our health and quality of life. To ensure that these devices serve the needs and ensure the safety of European citizens, the European Commission has proposed two Regulations which are fit for purpose, more transparent and better adapted to scientific and technological progress. The new rules aim to ensure that patients, consumers and healthcare professionals can reap the benefits of safe, effective and innovative medical devices. The medical device sector is highly innovative, particularly in Europe and has an estimated market value of around EUR 95bn.
New Biocides Regulation - guide
New rules on biocides enter into force today. They will bring a significant boost to the protection of human health and the environment. Biocidal products are necessary for the control of organisms that are harmful to human or animal health or that cause damage to materials. But as their properties can also pose risks to humans, animals and the environment, they need careful regulation. The new regulation on biocidal products will increase the safety of these chemical products and simplify their authorisation on the EU market, improving their free movement on the internal market.
List of permitted Health Claims on food products - guide
Health claims on food labelling and in advertising, for example on the role of calcium and bone health or vitamin C and the immune system, have become vital marketing tools to attract consumers' attention. EU consumers now expect accurate information on products they buy, in particular on the health claims the products may put forward. Today, a list of 222 health claims has been approved by the European Commission. This list is based on sound scientific advice, will be used throughout the EU and will also help to remove misleading claims from the market before the end of the year.
Animal Welfare Strategy 2012-2015 - guide
The European Commission has adopted a new four-year strategy (2012-2015) that aims to further improve the welfare of animals in the European Union.
List of permitted Health Claims for use on Food - guide
In a meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, EU Member States supported the European Commission's draft Regulation to adopt a list of permitted health claims for use on food.
Antimicrobial Resistance - guide
With about 25,000 patients dying per year in the EU from infections caused by drug resistant bacteria and related costs of over 1.5 billion euros in healthcare expenses and productivity losses , antimicrobial resistance is a growing health problem in the EU. Today, on the eve of European Antibiotic Awareness Day, the European Commission tabled a comprehensive Action Plan on Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which unveils12 concrete actions to be implemented in close cooperation with the EU Member States.
Plant health pests and EU funding programmes to deal with them - guide
The European Union today earmarked 19 million euros to co-finance programmes in seven Member States aiming to combat organisms harmful to plants and to prevent them from spreading further in the Union and thus from having sever consequences on the internal market. During a meeting of the Standing Committee on Plant Health (SCPH), the Member States endorsed two Commission proposals providing the co-financing (EUR 15 and EUR 4 million respectively) of actions already undertaken in the past or planned to be executed next year.
EU move to reduce cigarette ignited fires - guide
Cigarettes left unattended are one of the leading causes of fatal fires in Europe. Evidence shows that the number of fatalities can be reduced by over 40% with the introduction of 'Reduced Ignition Propensity' (RIP) cigarettes. This means cigarettes which self extinguish when left unattended and which are thus less likely to cause fire. This safety measure is already in place in some countries globally (US, Canada, Australia), and, in the EU, in Finland since April 2010. As from 17th November 2011, once the new safety standards are published in the EU Official Journal all cigarettes sold in Europe will have to comply with these measures. It will be the role of the national authorities to enforce this new fire safety measure.
Food Additives - guide
The use of additives in food will soon become safer and more transparent thanks to two pieces of legislation adopted by the European Commission.
Health and Consumer Programmes 2014-2020 - guide
The European Commission has adopted proposals for the new Health for Growth and Consumer Programmes. The two programmes aim to foster a Europe of healthy, active, informed and empowered citizens, who can contribute to economic growth. These new programmes will run from 2014-2020 with a budget of EUR 446 million for the Health for Growth Programme and EUR 197 million for the Consumer Programme. Focus will be on fewer concrete actions that offer clear EU added-value.
Report documents growing importance of the EU's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed
The European Union's system for quick exchange of information on risks linked to food and feed - an invaluable tool especially at times of crisis - has further grown in importance during 2010, the system's annual report reveals.
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) - guide
EFSA publishes report from its Task Force on the E. coli O104:H4 outbreaks in Germany and France in 2011 and makes further recommendations to protect consumers
"Ex-smokers are Unstoppable" campaign - guide
Ex-smokers are unstoppable" is the slogan of the EU-wide campaign launched today by European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli. Tobacco is the single largest cause of avoidable illness in the European Union and the estimated cause of death of over 650,000 people in the European Union every year. 1 in 3 people smoke. The 3 year campaign being launched today will focus on the positive effects of stopping smoking and will use a coordinated mix of advertising, social media, events and practical tools to reach smokers and help them quit.