Health Archives

  • Lifestyle & Health


    Smoking, drinking, bad nutritional habits and lack of physical activity are life-style related health determinants linked to a number of major health problems, such as cancer, cardio-vascular disease and obesity.

  • Informed patient


    Future of healthcare in Europe needs more involvement of citizens in their health and healthcare. This, in turn, requires reliable and high-quality health-related information for patients and citizens.

  • Health expenditure & economy


    In an ageing Europe, a healthy society and active workforce will be key determinants of sustainable productivity and economic growth and thus key conditions for the EU's Lisbon Agenda to deliver. Human capital has for long been recognised as a contributor to economic wealth, but it is forgotten that people can only accumulate and provide human capital if they are healthy, both physically and mentally. Far too often politics consider health as a cost and not as long-term investment in human capital.

  • European Year of Education through Sport (archived)

    Sports 10-01-2006

    The aim of the European Year of Education through Sport (EYES) 2004 was to raise awareness about the potentially beneficial links between education and sport.

  • EU health strategy


    The Commission proposal for the EU Health programme 2007-2013 aligns future health action with the overall EU objectives of prosperity, solidarity and security and aims to further exploit synergies with other policies.

  • Generic Medicines


    A generic medicine is a pharmaceutical product that is no longer protected by a patent and which can be copied by other companies. It may be marketed either under its own brand or as an unbranded product. European governments are increasingly relying on generics to save on healthcare costs and have worked to create a more favourable environment for generic medicines, which are considerably less expensive than brand name drugs.

  • Medicines for children


    A new proposal for a regulation, adopted by the Commission in September 2004, is designed to increase the EU-wide availability of high quality medicines made specifically for children. The Council adopted the regulation in October 2006.

  • New medicines legislation


    A high level of public health protection and the completion of the internal market were the main objectives of the comprehensive reform of the EU's pharmaceutical legislative framework. The review, which started in July 2001 and ended in March 2004, touched upon contentious issues, such as authorisation procedures, information to patients, regulatory data protection and 'pharmaco-vigilance'.

  • Medical devices


    The European medical devices market is the second largest in the world, preceded by the U.S. and followed by Japan. Three EU directives concerning medical devices are currently in for a review.

  • Science & Ethics

    Innovation & Industry 21-01-2005

    Passionate debates on biotechnology, stem cell research and cloning have shown that there is a need for open public dialogue on the ethical implications of scientific advances. With a view of furthering responsible research which respects fundamental ethical principles, the EU has taken a number of initiatives addressing ethical issues.

  • Healthy ageing


    Europe has to face enormous economic challenges (pensions, health care systems) due to its ageing population and shrinking workforce. At the same time, population ageing also poses social problems. The social context is gradually changing (more women at work, dispersed families) and old people are often left to face social exclusion. Differences in financing structures result in health inequalities among European countries, which diversity will further increase with upcoming rounds of EU enlargement.

  • Nutrition and health claims made on foods

    Special Report | Science & Policymaking 06-12-2004

    A new EU regulation on nutrition and health claims, such as 'low fat', 'helps your body resist stress' or 'purifies your organism', entered into force on 1 July 2007.

  • Environment and health strategy (SCALE)

    Climate change 07-07-2004

    Concerned about the increasing effects of environmental pollution on people's health, the Commission adopted a European strategy for Environment and Health in June 2003. One year on, it presented an Action Plan which focuses on the most vulnerable groups, particularly children. Environmental NGOs and the European green party heavily criticised it for being too weak on legislative proposals and focusing only on research.

  • Sports policy in the EU – introduction

    Sports 21-05-2004

    The EU has no direct competence in sport, but a European sports policy is slowly emerging.

  • Genetically Modified Organisms

    Science & Policymaking 20-05-2004

    In response to public fears about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food, the European Union adopted in July 2003 two regulations establishing an EU-wide system to trace and label GMOs and to regulate the commercialisation and labelling of food derived from GMOs. These new laws came into force in April 2004. On 18 May, the Commission put an end to the 'de facto' moratorium on approving new GM products for the European market, which had been in place since 1998.

  • Health Inequalities


    With the eastern enlargement of the EU, more attention is being drawn to the fact that the citizens of the less wealthy Central and Eastern European countries have poorer health and shorter life expectancy than those in Western Europe. In addition to the east-west gap in health, differences in health between socioeconomic groups have increased in many countries as socio-economic determinants such as education, employment and life-style affect the health.

  • Food Safety in the EU


    The Commission adopted a White Paper on Food Safety in January 2000, which signals a new regulatory approach aiming to restore confidence of the European public in food safety following several food crises (dioxins, BSE and Food-and-Mouth). This new "from the farm to the fork" approach draws together the various aspects of food safety along the food chain.

  • Road Safety for Pedestrians

    Transport 09-02-2004

    In November 2003, the Council adopted a directive on pedestrian safety with the aim to reduce deaths and injuries of pedestrians involved in traffic accidents through changes to the construction of the front of vehicles. The proposal is based on a voluntary agreement signed by European, Japanese and Korean car makers in 2001 and 2002.

  • Food irradiation [Archived]


    In 1983, Codex Alimentarius adopted a worldwide standard covering irradiated foods. In the European Union, based on a Directive in force since 1999, only "dried aromatic herbs, spices and vegetable seasonings" may be treated with irradiation in the EU. This LinksDossier follows the EU-wide debate on whether this list should be extended.

  • Parallel trade in medicines


    Parallel imports, also called gray-market imports, are medicinal products produced genuinely under protection of a trademark, patent, or copyright, placed into circulation in one market, and then imported by an intermediary into a second market without the authorisation of the local owner of the intellectual property right. Parallel trade exists when there are significant price differences between countries, making this trade attractive, which is the case in the EU, where prices of medicines are not governed by free competition laws, but are fixed by the government.

  • Organic farming [Archived]


    In the last few years, organic farming has been increasingly in the spotlight due to the various food crises sprouting up around Europe. As a result of such crises as BSE and foot-and-mouth, modern agrochemicals and intensive farming methods have come under attack, leaving organic farming the next best alternative. Organic farming provides a more sustainable system of food production. However, unlike "true" sustainable farming techniques, organic farming is still dependent on fossil fuels for production, transport and processing.

  • Media Advertising [Archived]


    Advertising relies mainly on self-regulation. Most of the self regulation organisations around the world base their work on the codes prepared and published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The EU is currently struggling on where to draw the line between self-regulation by the industry and government regulation, especially in the field of electronic communications.