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In the European Union, thousands of people with serious mental disorders live isolated and secluded from society, without receiving all the care they need. At least 150 million euros of EU funds, intended to improve their situation, have been used for other purposes.
The clash between the EU and AstraZeneca over delayed vaccines has revealed a stack of questionable contracts signed with Big Pharma. Problems include manufacturers’ ambiguous delivery dates, but lawyers investigating the deals show that companies have a clear advantage over the EU.
According to the annual assessment of the European Railway Agency, the trend of a steady decrease in the number of rail accidents continues. However, rail-related suicide rates remain roughly the same.
Doctors continue prescribing anti-anxiety medications such as lorazepam or diazepam for long periods despite the risk of addictions. Meanwhile, under-investment in psychological care is making things worse.
In many European countries, the availability of psychological treatment in the public healthcare system is inadequate or even non-existent. Barriers such as long waiting lists, co-payments and inadequate resources push people with anxiety or depression – those who can afford it – to the private system.
Mental health resources in the European Union were scarce even before the pandemic. COVID-19 has caused a tsunami in mental health, and access to care is more difficult today. About 75 percent of psychiatry services in the EU have been taking place via telemedicine, but this is not a viable option for all patients.
Pharmaceutical giants producing COVID-19 vaccines are open to collaboration with third parties, as long as they retain control on vaccine licenses and profits. EU member states complain about supply shortages, but fail to question the power of Big Pharma.
The European Union shifts between defending citizens’ health and defending pharmaceutical industry monopoly by opposing the liberalization of vaccine production. This might only delay achieving the immunisation necessary for economic recovery. We delve into this issue in a three-part investigation.
The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) has been put in place by the European Commission to provide food and feed control authorities with an effective tool to exchange information about measures taken responding to serious risks detected in relation to food or feed.
The Covid-19 pandemic is a cruel reminder that ecosystem vitality and human health are closely linked. For Eloi Laurent, "the best economic policy is a good health policy and the best health policy is a good environmental policy. We see that there is no trade-off between economy and environment."