HERA: Putting Europe on the front foot against global health threats

EFPIA and Vaccines Europe (VE) welcome the proposal from the Commission to strengthen Europe’s ability to respond to global health threats, through the creation of the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).  

Commenting on the publication of the proposal, EFPIA Director General, Nathalie Moll said. “The speed at which Europe became the epicentre of the COVID-19 crisis meant, as a region, we were simply reacting to issues as they arose, working together to find solutions as quickly as possible. The creation of HERA is a first step to putting Europe on the front foot in addressing global health threats.” 

Shared learning from COVID-19 pandemic revealed a number of weaknesses in Europe’s ability to respond to a public health crisis of this magnitude. At the outset of the pandemic, the infrastructure and processes were not in place to ensure sufficient coordination and evidence-based decision-making at all levels to effectively combat the pandemic. Central to the success of the new Authority will be its ability to balance coordination and unity with agility and responsiveness as threats emerge. 

Addressing global health crises begins with planning and preparation. EFPIA and VE support HERA’s inclusion of an end-to-end approach from surveillance and horizon scanning to facilitating the research and development of medical countermeasures, through production and distribution to enhancing Member State capacity and facilitating international cooperation. 

Ms Moll, went on to say. “The research-based pharmaceutical industry has been a pivotal partner in the fight against COVID-19 from ensuring the safe supply of medicines to patients across Europe, to discovering, developing and manufacturing diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines to protect citizens across Europe and around the world. As the Commission works to make HERA operational by early 2022, it is vital to evolve a collaborative, partnership-based model where each stakeholder can focus on their strengths in a highly coordinated approach. Our industry is committed to working with the new Authority towards the shared goal of a safer, healthier, more resilient Europe.”