Health emergency preparedness and response authority (HERA): European Commission launches public consultation

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


On 31 March, the Commission launched an online public consultation on the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA). Part of the EU’s answer to the COVID-19 pandemic and a strong European Health Union, HERA aims to improve Europe’s capacity and readiness to respond to cross-border health threats and emergencies.

Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “COVID-19 has revealed gaps in our collective preparedness and response. The Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority, EU’s HERA, is a fundamental part of the solution that we need for the next health crisis to prepare better and respond more swiftly, together. HERA will strengthen our foresight, preparation, anticipation and response. To ensure that it meets current and future challenges as swiftly as possible, we will listen very carefully to stakeholders’ views. And we will prepare an ambitious proposal that will turn HERA into a strong pillar of a European Health Union.”

As of 31 March, a public consultation will be open for six weeks, consisting of questions on:

  • the EU’s framework to develop, manufacture and deploy medical countermeasures;
  • anticipatory threat and risk assessments;
  • market dynamics and supply chain intelligence;
  • development and financing of new countermeasures in times of crisis;
  • impact, role, scope and coordination of a future HERA.

Background

HERA is part of the European Health Union as announced by President von der Leyen in her September 2020 State of the Union address. It will provide a dedicated structure to support the development, manufacturing and deployment of medical countermeasures during a health crisis of natural or deliberate origin. HERA could use foresight, surveillance and market intelligence to plan and coordinate medical countermeasures.

Preparing the ground for the new Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority, on 17 February the Commission launched the new European bio-defence preparedness plan against COVID-19 variants called “HERA Incubator.” HERA will build on the actions launched through the Incubator and provide a permanent structure for risk modelling, global surveillance, technology transfers, manufacturing capacity, supply chain risk mapping, flexible manufacturing capacity and vaccine and medicine research and development.

Next steps

The consultation will run for 6 weeks, until 12 May 2021.

In parallel to the public consultation, the Commission will also hold talks with Member States and stakeholders.

The exact remit of HERA will be set out in a legislative proposal later this year. The Commission will consider the feedback received before finalising the legislative proposal.

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