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Launch of Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma: EFA/EAACI REPORT

The European Parliament Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma was launched on the 25th of March. The event was co-hosted by the Interest Group Chair, MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen, together with supporting MEP Nessa Childers (Ireland, S&D). Approximately thirty participants attended the event, including five Members of the European Parliament/assistants (MEPs), 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 moderated panel discussion between key policymakers, academia and patients’ groups. To know more on the meeting’s content and further plans of the group, we invite you to read the report.

Discussions started on air quality legislation

In December 2013, the European Commission proposed the Clean Air Policy Package with the objective of improving the air people breathe in Europe and therefore reducing the health impact of pollution. One of the elements of the package, the National Emissions Ceilings Directive, required Member States to limit the emissions of particulate matter, ground-level ozone, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, ammonia, volatile organic compound and methane by 2030. To reach this objective, two intermediate goals were set, one for 2020 (binding) and one for 2025 (not binding). The European Parliament has started to discuss broadly these targets at the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) after the publication in March, of the report of the European Parliament rapporteur Mrs Girling MEP (United Kingdom, European Conservatives and Reformists – ECR).

Mrs Girling’s draft report provided improvement with regard to some aspects of the Commission’s proposal, in particular the 2025 emission reduction commitments that she proposed to make mandatory for four out of the six pollutants. The draft report also made a number of other significant improvements to the Commission’s proposal, including: requiring Member States to monitor the impacts of air pollution, strengthening the role of both the Commission and the public in scrutinising national air pollution control programmes, improving coherence between the directive and the ambient air quality directive and source emissions legislations, removing the proposed shipping flexibility. Regrettably, the opportunity to improve the proposal’s ambition level for 2020, 2025 and 2030 was missed.

EFA, together with other health not-for-profit organisations, the European Respiratory Society (ERS), the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), sent a letter to all Members of the ENVI Committee highlighting the priorities from public health perspective. In collaboration with the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), the European Aerobiology Society (EAS), the International Ragweed Society (IRS), the Italian Association of Aerobiology (AIA), we also sent a letter to the Members of the ENVI Committee emphasising the need to have pollen measurements and information mentioned in the Directive under revision to raise awareness and prepare the ground for future discussions in the framework of the Ambient Air Quality Directive revision.

Every year, over 400,000 Europeans die prematurely because of air pollution. As shown by the results of the project (Improving Knowledge and Communication for Decision Making on Air Pollution and Health in Europe), patients with asthma suffer more on or after days with higher pollution levels.

Immunisation week: need to boost vaccination in Europe

The European Immunization Week (EIW), an event coordinated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), was celebrated in Europe from the 20th to 25th of April. The initiative aims at increasing vaccination coverage in the region, and focused especially on the need for a renewed commitment to immunization at political, professional and personal levels.

Both immunization and vaccination save lives and overall have increased our life expectancy. However they are a debated topic for allergy, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients as immunization and vaccination are used to prevent exacerbations, and in case of allergies for treatment. Although they help, it is possible to experience allergic symptoms due to certain components used in vaccines, therefore it is highly recommended to consult health professionals on this issue. More information is available on the week’s website.

How many chemicals are found in our foods? EFSA 2015 report

Traces of chemicals are sometimes detected in food and drinks: pesticides in fruit and vegetables, veterinary drugs in meat and other animal-derived products, or environmental contaminants in various foodstuffs. Regular controls help to ensure compliance with food safety rules and standards and protect consumers from potential risks. But how high are the levels of these substances in food and do they exceed existing official limits?

The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) acts as an information hub for several activities in this area and each year it produces report on Chemicals in Food for the general public. The newest EFSA report aims to give non-specialists a balanced view of the findings of annual EU-wide monitoring of levels of chemicals in food. The report provides context that is sometimes lacking when examples of chemicals detected in food are reported by the media. For example, EFSA’s analyses of data collected from across Europe show that exceeding official limits is the exception rather than the rule.

To check how safe food you eat, please read the EFSA Report on Chemicals 2015.

EMA consultation on the qualification of COPD exacerbations

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has launched a public consultation on the qualification of COPD exacerbations that can be accessed here. EFA is developing a response for our network and will consult members. If you would like to contribute with your unique perspective of a patient living with the COPD, we would be very grateful to receive your feedback by the 20th of May at the latest. The comments have to be provided in EMA template.

The deadline of EMA consultation is the 25th of May.

EMA draft good practice guides on medical errors

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), on behalf of the European Union (EU) Regulatory Network, has released two draft good practice guides that aim to improve the reporting, evaluation and prevention of medication errors by regulatory authorities and pharmaceutical industry throughout the EU.

One of the two guides focuses on the prevention of medication errors. It describes the main sources and types of these errors and proposes measures to minimise the risk of medication errors throughout the life cycle of a medicine.

The other guide provides guidance on how suspected adverse reactions that are caused by medication errors should be recorded, coded, reported and assessed. It also gives recommendations for marketing-authorisation holders on how to report information on medication errors that are brought to their attention but have not caused adverse reactions. This information must be provided in periodic safety update reports and in the risk management plans that are compulsory for all medicines. This allows a continuous evaluation of the benefits and risks of a medicine based on real life data by regulators.

Stakeholders are invited to provide comments on the good practice guide and the addendum on insulins by 14 June 2015 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tags: Category: News
Country: EU
Disease area: Asthma,Allergy,COPD
Theme: Medicines, - Clinical trials, Air quality, - Air pollution, Chemicals