Sector & service specialists


The healthcare industry is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing industries. Consuming over 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) of most developed nations, healthcare forms an enormous part of the EU’s economy. The healthcare industry is made up of two main groups: healthcare equipment and services; and pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and related life sciences. Europe’s pharmaceutical sector employs some 750,000 people and generates three to four times more employment indirectly. Medical technology is also a major contributor to the EU economy, employing over 650,000 people in high quality jobs in a market estimated at around €110 billion.

As healthcare concerns human health, it is one of the most regulated industry sectors and gives rise to one of the most vibrant Brussels public affairs communities. By far the biggest spenders on public affairs are the 40 leading pharmaceutical companies who are members of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). In second place are the Diagnostics and Medical Devices manufacturers represented collectively by MedTech Europe.

EU countries hold primary responsibility for organising and delivering health services and medical care. EU health policy therefore serves to complement national policies, and to ensure health protection in all EU policies.  However, COVID-19 has brought the EU’s health policy into sharp focus and fostered joint actions such as vaccine procurement.

Healthcare lobbyists will be kept busy as the European Health Union will focus on both urgent and long-term health priorities, from the response to the COVID-19 crisis and resilience to cross-border health threats, to Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, digital health and the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe.  EFPIA and its member companies believe that the proposed EU pharmaceutical legislation will undermine Europe’s competitiveness and slow the research, development and delivery of new treatments and vaccines in Europe.

The EU will also continue to pursue international cooperation on global health threats and challenges such as antimicrobial-resistant infections and vaccination.

Good health is a major concern of European citizens. EU action on health issues aims to improve public health, prevent diseases and threats to health (including those related to lifestyle), as well as to promote research. The EU does not define health policies, nor the organisation and provision of health services and medical care. Instead, its action serves to complement national policies and to support cooperation between member countries in the field of public health.

European Commission

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