In policy news this month we report on the air quality situation in Europe and how two new EU proposals are aiming to improve the safety of medical devices produced here.
Launch of the 2012 EEA report on the air quality situation in Europe – the way forward to the 2013 EU Year of Air
On the 24th of September, the European Environment Agency (EEA) launched their 2012 report on the air quality situation in Europe with a presentation and discussion in the European Parliament featuring EEA Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade and EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik. The 2012 analysis confirms the air quality situation in Europe is grim: exposure to air pollution is actively harming Europeans’ health. It reduces life expectancy by more than eight months on average in the European Union and by more than two years in the most polluted cities and regions. In addition, it significantly affects the most vulnerable people, such as those suffering from asthma, COPD and respiratory allergies. Next year it will be the EU Year of Air and, together with the revision of the EU air legislation scheduled for 2013, it represents a wonderful opportunity to draw attention to the harmful consequences of air pollution.
European Commission proposes new EU medical devises regulation
On the 26th of September 2012, the European Commission adopted a package on innovation in health consisting of a communication and two new EU regulations on medical devises and in vitro diagnostic medical devises. The Commission believes patients will benefit even more from the provisions of these new legislative instruments since they prescribe that all devices will have to undergo thorough assessment of safety and performance before they can be sold on the European market. Control processes are strongly reinforced and will continue to ensure rapid access to innovative, cost-effective devices for European patients. The proposal is particularly important for people with allergy and airways diseases, as some of the devises used in their treatments (e.g. asthma inhalators and adrenaline injectors) will fall under the scope of the new rules.