Vyteris Andriukaitis made the following points in a speech recently:

The definition of health as proposed by the World Health Organization is: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

Unfortunately for too long we have been focusing on care and cure, while most of the harm related to risk factors – alcohol, tobacco, salt, sugar, trans-fatty acids, physical inactivity, stress, air pollution and others – is preventable.

The risk factors shorten lives of our citizens, reduce our health resources, provoke chronic diseases and pressure our healthcare systems and our economies. Yet we forget that public health plays a central role in a vibrant social market economy. It is always underestimated, yet it is vital.

About 11% of the EU’s workforce is active in the health and social sector, most of whom – 8% – work in healthcare.

Public health is a prerequisite for economic growth – a healthy population is more productive – and the health sector is a key tool to support this.
The sector already amounts to up to almost one tenth of the EU’s economy yet it has huge potential to stimulate growth and investment, to generate innovation, new products, technologies, services and jobs.

To read more about Vyteris Andriukaitis on ec.europa.eu website