News
30 November 2022
EU
PREVENT, - Healthcare

In October 2022, the EU adopted  the new EU Regulation on the extended mandate of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)[1]. This new Regulation is a central pillar of the European Health Union legislative package aiming at increasing the EU coordination, and it provides with the ECDC with a fundamental role in the view of chronic allergy and respiratory diseases.

A welcome step forward on health prevention and care

Given the fundamental role of the ECDC during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the only EU body looking at the evolution of the virus in the Union, EFA has advocated for the need to expand the ECDC mandate to respond to the current needs in public health. In particular, we highlighted the need to further extend the ECDC mandate to encompass chronic diseases, and have the body further engage with stakeholders and the wider public, engaging ECDC’s public engagement and credibility as an expert body and reference point for trustworthy information. The adoption of the final text is a great development for EU health policy.

More coordinated surveillance and epidemiological response support

With the newly adopted mandate, the ECDC has now a stronger role in prevention and control of infectious disease threats, and in response to future public health challenges. More concretely, the ECDC will conduct epidemiological surveillance via integrated systems to enable real-time surveillance and have the capacity to mobilise and deploy an EU Health Task Force to assist local response in the Member States.

Of particular importance for EFA community, the new framework recognises the severe impact infectious disease outbreaks for chronic disease, and acknowledges the health care and treatment delays and interruptions for patients. In this context, the new adopted legislation in Article 31 (2) promises an evaluation of the framework by 2025, and every 5 years after, with a first evaluation to specifically look at the feasibility to extend ECDC’s mandate to the impact of cross-border threats to health on non-communicable diseases, which would de facto cover monitoring allergy, asthma and COPD.

Moreover, as advocated by EFA, the ECDC mandate gives particular importance to representatives of civil society, and specifically foresees engagement with representatives of patient organisations and public health organisations when issuing science-based recommendations and scientific and technical expertise to the Member States and the European Commission around prevention, preparedness, and response.

A clear framework

The Regulation on ECDC’s extended mandate was adopted together with the Regulation on cross-border health threats, and the Emergency Framework Regulation to provide extra powers to the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA). The three Regulations are part of the European Health Union package and have been adopted as key components of the European Commission’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and any future public health emergencies. In addition to the three Regulations, the mandate of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has also been extended, having been in force since March this year.

 

[1] Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 851/2004 establishing a European centre for disease prevention and control (ECDC), available at undefined

[2] Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on serious cross-border threats to health and repealing Decision No 1082/1013/EU, available at undefined