Allergy and asthma are amongst the most prevalent chronic diseases in Europe, in particular in children, although many patients do not report their symptoms or are not correctly diagnosed: it is estimated that 45% of patients have never received an allergy diagnosis.
To raise awareness of allergy and asthma as highly prevalent chronic diseases, as well as to foster European research on allergic diseases, share best practices and promote allergy and asthma health in all policies, the European Parliament has launched an Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma, under the leadership of the Members of the European Parliament Sirpa Pietikäinen (Finland, European People’s Party) and Nessa Childers (Ireland, Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats). The Interest Group is an informal group of Members of the European Parliament committed to improve the health and quality of life of patients with asthma and allergy in Europe and to prevent the onset of these diseases for future generations.
The Interest Group will meet several times a year on key priority topics and provide a platform of engagement for all relevant stakeholders and policymakers to share expertise and further help align interests to trigger EU policy actions around allergy and asthma. The European Commission health-related services, Member States health and research attachés, industry representatives, patients groups, academia and the public health community in general will be the key contributors to the Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma. The Secretariat of the Interest Group is run by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) and the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA) and will work closely to voice the needs of people living with allergy and asthma.
The launch of the group took place on the 25th of March, 2015, at the European Parliament. The event was attended by approximately thirty participants, including 5 Members of the European Parliament/assistants, representatives of the European Commission, World Health Organisation, academia, industry and patients’ representatives. The event included presentations on the prevalence and the burden of allergy and asthma, example of best practice on allergy at the national level, and was followed by a fruitful discussions between key policy makers, academia and patients’ groups that have been featured in the event report.
Allergy knows no boundaries and affects people of all ages: over 150 million EU citizens live with allergies. The severity of the disease varies from person to person and can range from minor irritation to full anaphylactic shock — a life-threatening reaction.
Around 30 million people in Europe have asthma and as many as 6 million of these people suffer severe symptoms. What is more, the prevalence of these diseases is growing rapidly: by 2025, more than 50% of the European population will be allergic. To know more about the latest research on allergy, please consult the results of the EU-Funded project MeDALL.
Documents on the European Parliament Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma
- Brochure with more detailed information on the Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma
- EFA-EAACI PRESS RELEASE: Environment targets should meet health priorities at the European Parliament (July 2015)
- Clean air is of supreme importance to our health and environment –European Parliament Group on Allergy and Asthma (July 2015)
- Four more MEPs support the EP Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma (May 2015)
- Report on the kick off meeting of the EP IG on Allergy and Asthma (May 2015)
- News article on the launch of the EP IG on Allergy and Asthma (April 2015)
- EFA/EAACI Press Release: EP Interest Group on Allergies and Asthma launched (March 2015)