“TOWARDS A EUROPEAN HEALTH UNION? Lessons learned, future challenges”. This is the title of the VideoTalk held on April 21 by the Institute for Competitiveness, with guest speaker Andrzej Rys, Director for ‘Health Systems, Medical Products and Innovation’, DG SANTE, European Commission.
The VideoTalk was opened with a brief introduction by I-Com President Stefano da Empoli. Eleonora Mazzoni, Head of I-Com Innovation Area then delivered a short presentation. The main speaker, Andrzej Rys, then took the floor.
Bringing together EU and national institution representatives, companies, research and business organisations, trade and consumer associations and other relevant stakeholders, the event offered a forum to discuss the overall European public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic, looking at the lessons learned and future challenges. A particular emphasis will be placed on the proposal for a European Health Union, outlined by the Commission last November with the aim to strengthen the EU’s health security framework to prepare and face up to common health crises.
Generally speaking, the pandemic showed that a lack of investment in health systems, while saving money in the short term, can have devastating effects on the economy and society in the long term. Moreover, it has highlighted that other health emergencies will occur in the future, especially concerning the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases which will require placing the patient at the centre of health policies and the uptake of new innovations in treatment. Consequently, health expenditure should be regarded as an investment for our societies, rather than a cost, avoiding health budgets being cut as a consequence of economic recession. These and other questions emerged from the discussion.