EU proposes major boost for health in latest budget announcement

Funding for healthcare in the EU has seen a major boost in the latest budget announcement from the European Commission.

In the context of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the new budget, which was announced by the European Commission on 27 May 2020, aims to repair and protect healthcare and welfare systems, societies and economies.

In the field of health, a new programme of funding, called EU4Health, will see €9.4 billion invested for the next seven years (2021–2027). The funding aims to improve health systems and prepare for future health crises. Funding will also be given to strengthen and expand health research in Europe, specifically in the field of non-communicable diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, heart diseases and cancers.

The EU4Health programme will aim to tackle a range of areas, including:

  • making medicines available and affordable;
  • improving access to healthcare for vulnerable groups;
  • making more aspects of healthcare online – for example, providing summaries of a person’s health status online so it can be shared between different healthcare professionals and allowing for prescriptions to be generated online; and
  • focusing on key priorities for the Commission, such as the fight against cancer and improving vaccination rates.

The budget has currently been proposed and must still be agreed by EU member states and accepted by the European Parliament. ELF is joining with the European Respiratory Society to urge policymakers to support the proposal and boost funding for healthcare in the EU.

A full list of the areas covered by the programme can be found on the European Commission website.