Health

Cholesterol
05-11-2014

Cholesterol: The overlooked chronic disease

Europeans suffer from the highest bad cholesterol in the world, with a prevalence of 54% for both sexes, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). However, the chronic disease continues to be neglected by policymakers, in favour of other long-term illnesses.

Doctor examining obesity patient [Photo: Shutterstock]
06-08-2014

Diabetes: the EU’s heavy burden

An estimated 32 million people in the European Union (8.1%) were living with diabetes in 2013. Although policymakers are now paying special attention to the issue and to obesity-related conditions more generally, health experts say more can be done to tackle what the EU considers as a chronic disease.

polio vaccination
Development Policy 03-06-2014

Giving immunisation efforts a booster

Since 2000, 440 million children have been immunised against preventable diseases – and an estimated 6 million deaths have been avoided. But 22.6 million children are still not vaccinated and 1.5 million children under-5-years-old die annually from preventable diseases. Changing this picture may require action, not least on vaccine prices.

26-02-2014

Cardiovascular disease: Social and economic impacts

The number one killer in Europe, cardiovascular disease, is set to become an even greater burden on the already recession-hit continent's health systems. Therefore, the Commission is now trying to tackle the growing problem with different initiatives and health programmes.

Endocrine disruptors: Harmful or not?

Rising levels of cancers and fertility problems have attracted scientists’ attention to endocrine disrupting chemicals, with some calling for strict regulation of the substances, in line with the precautionary principle. Others meanwhile, stress the worthiness of those chemicals in everyday products such as plastics and warn that the foundations of science risk being turned upside down if precautionary measures are taken.

08-04-2013

Fighting alcohol harm: The EU’s strategy under review

Europeans have the highest per-capita consumption of alcohol, and drinking causes nearly 1-in-10 cases of ill health and premature death. The European Commission’s informal alcohol strategy, launched in 2006, is set for a detailed evaluation in 2013, with the policy objective of reducing the health and social harm caused by excessive alcohol consumption.

13-11-2012

Medical Devices: A new regulatory landscape

Following a huge health scandal involving faulty breast implants sold around Europe, the European Commission published proposals in late 2012 for a new regulatory regime for medical devices.

16-08-2012

Changing consumer behaviour to sustainability

Concerns about the sustainability of natural resources are rising, prompting policymakers and companies to encourage consumers to think green. Labelling is one way of doing this, but consumer groups advise against confronting shoppers with too much information and warn that green claims aren't always independently verified.

REACH chemical safety review: Re-opening a can of worms?

Five years after its adoption, the European Commission is preparing to review the controversial REACH regulation, which for the first time required chemical manufacturers to justify that their products are safe for consumers before placing them on the market.

Active ageing 09-03-2012

Austerity: Healthcare in hardship

Healthcare budgets constitute one of the largest chunks of public expenditure throughout the EU, and the associated industry is considered one of Europe’s success stories. Europeans consider healthcare as one of the benchmarks that sets the continent apart in terms of quality of life from other nations. But the ageing demographic, and the shock of the financial crisis have brought the contrast between Europe’s ideals and reality sharply into focus.

Digital agenda: Connecting the EU

High-speed Internet for all - including on mobile phones - and lower consumer prices are the main highlights of the European Commission's digital agenda, a five-year plan to ensure higher connectivity for EU citizens and business.

13-07-2011

Consumer empowerment: Helping shoppers to buy green [Archived]

As pressure mounts to lead sustainable lifestyles, policymakers and companies alike are mulling new ways of encouraging shoppers to buy green. But consumer groups warned against confronting shoppers with too much information and warned that companies' green claims are often not independently verified. 

08-07-2011

Eating green? Food, drinks and the environment [Archived]

Food multinationals are showing increasing interest in measuring their water and carbon footprint but the proliferation of green claims often leaves consumers wondering about sustainable food choices.

Climate change 15-06-2011

Behind closed doors: Air quality in buildings

Restrictions on tobacco smoke and the Asbestos scandal have put indoor air quality under the spotlight in the recent past, resulting in tough policies to stop damage to human health. While tobacco continues to be the biggest health culprit, nowadays attention is also turning to "chemical cocktails," toxic fumes from heating and cooking, and damp and mould caused by poor ventilation.

14-04-2011

The battle for EU consumer rights

The EU's new Consumer Rights Directive is designed to drag consumer rights legislation into the 21st Century by creating legal certainty for businesses and better protecting online shoppers in particular. But EU policymakers are currently at loggerheads over the scope of the draft law. 

Digital agenda: Connecting the EU

High-speed Internet for all - including on mobile phones - and lower consumer prices are the main highlights of the European Commission's digital agenda, a five-year plan to ensure higher connectivity for EU citizens and business.

05-11-2010

Medicines in emerging markets

Fast-growing economies such as China and India could provide lucrative new markets for Europe's pharmaceutical industry, but emerging nations are investing heavily in their own medicines sector and look set to challenge Western dominance of the healthcare market.

07-10-2010

Consumers: Buying green?

Environmentally-friendly goods are often overpriced for many consumers – and as the economic crisis continues to bite, policymakers are mulling tax incentives to make green shopping more affordable.

23-08-2010

Health Literacy: skills for living

The first half of 2013 will witness the Council and Parliament finalising the Commission's new proposals for updating the directive on information to patients on medicines. The new regime that this ushers in will aim to tackle almost half of Europe's patients, who are 'health illiterates'.

07-07-2010

Counterfeit medicines: A growing health threat

The dangers of fake medicines are due to be addressed in upcoming EU legislation but an international solution may be needed to solve a problem with global implications.

Food information for consumers

The EU is considering strict new food labelling rules to help consumers make healthy choices and tackle obesity, which has become a serious public health concern.

26-02-2010

Healthcare innovation: The cost killer?

Healthcare innovations such as eHealth and telemedicine offer new prospects for cost savings and improved quality of care, but expensive new technologies are also driving medical inflation and the benefits may not always be distributed equally.

Advertising and Consumer Rights

Traditionally, EU laws on advertising applied to print and broadcast media, but as adverts increasingly migrate to an unregulated online world, lawmakers and consumer groups are exploring ways to ensure that digital marketing does not infringe consumer rights.

Sports 19-10-2009

Sport and the EU treaties

So far, the EU's involvement in sport policy has revolved around its economic aspects but with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, Europe now has a legal base to provide a supporting role to member states in the social, educational and cultural aspects of sport.