Members of European Parliament (MEPs) Sirpa Pietikainen and Nessa Childers, patients and doctors have joined forces in an Interest Group to take actions on allergy and asthma in Europe, launched on 25 March 2015 at the European Parliament. We are delighted that the European Commission Directorate General (DG) Research and Innovation, DG Environment, DG SANTE and the World Health Organisation Europe, together with our partners European Respiratory Society and Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and industry representatives attended the launch.
Need to deal holistically and systematically with asthma and allergy
Over 150 million EU citizens live with allergies but half of them are underdiagnosed or have their disease uncontrolled. Around 30 million people in Europe have asthma and as many as 6 million of these people suffer severe symptoms. 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.
The Interest Group (IG) is an informal group of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) committed to give a clearer policy response to address allergy and asthma at the EU level.
It will serve to share expertise and help align interests to trigger EU policy actions on allergy and asthma health.
Members of the Group will provide a strong and unified contribution to EU policies on chronic diseases, air pollution, and research among others.
The Interest Group will bring attention to topics such as the following:
- Raising awareness of allergies as highly prevalent chronic diseases with a major socioeconomic burden requiring a policy coordinated response
- Promoting allergy health through health in all policies principle
- Fostering European research into allergic diseases
- Addressing inequalities and sharing best practices in European healthcare systems for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, involvement and care of allergic patients
- Training in allergology, among both general practitioners and specialists, and the cross-border movement of allergologists
- Exchange of patient centred national programmes to tackle the burden of allergic diseases to ensure best practices are applied in different EU Member States
- Prevention of allergic diseases by working among others on environment, chemicals in daily life products and food allergen labelling
Patients and doctors expect that such a dedicated Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma will help develop a network of MEP ambassadors supportive of research on the causes of allergy and asthma, prevention, treatment and management of these diseases, as well as raising awareness of the growing incidence of asthma and allergy in Europe. The Group will also be proactive in promoting a better quality of life and access to care of the patients. 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.
Read the Press Release and the Report of the launch of the Interest Group