27 March 2019
Asthma , COPD, Allergy, Other Diseases
- Inequalities, - Healthcare, - Medicines

On 20th March, the European Parliament Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma, co-run by EFA and EAACI, organised at the European Parliament a Breakfast Policy Meeting on a renewed EU policy agenda on allergy and airways diseases, co-hosted by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, FI) and Pavel Poc (S&D, CZ).

During the breakfast policy meeting, the Chair of the Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen launched its ‘blueprint’. This cross-cutting document reaffirms the commitment of the Interest Group to help improve research, prevention and care to the benefit of people living with allergy and asthma in Europe.

The event hosted by MEPs Sirpa Pietikäinen and Pavel Poc was accompanied by top decision-makers from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), European Commission Directorate General for Environment (DG ENV), the Finnish Permanent Representation and the World Health Organization (WHO), who discussed the situation of allergies and airways diseases.

WHO Representative to the EU, Leen Meulenbergs, pinpointed WHO’s work in putting health high on the social, economic and political agenda of city governments. Ulla Närhi, Counsellor for Health at the Finnish Permanent Representation to the EU, reminded that disease prevention and health are of crucial importance for Europe’s future.

François Wakenhut, Head of Unit ‘Clean Air’ of DG ENV, noted that negative correlations between air quality and health are evident, hence a cross sectorial approach to tackle the sources of air pollution is required.

In words of Bjorn Hansen, ECHA Executive Director, the event was an eye-opener, as allergy, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are highly prevalent diseases in Europe,  directly affected by many indirect areas, such as chemicals. We need all sectors on board, the healthcare sector can do a lot and better but not alone.

Getting used to live with chronic diseases is not the right way but people need to be protected from the root causes at first, concluded MEP Pavel Poc.

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The EFA Team