As of January 1, 2023, Sweden holds the six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union, also known as the Council of Ministers. During the Swedish presidency, some important EU legislation that is poised to shape European healthcare will be negotiated. We spoke with Kara Brotemarkle (General Manager Sweden) and Elin Gustavsson (Strategy and Pipeline Partner Sweden) about what to expect from the Swedish Presidency.

From January 1 to June 30, 2022, Sweden holds the EU Presidency. What role will health policy play in Sweden’s plans? Before that, the Czech Republic held the rotating office. For Prague, the main priorities in healthcare during its tenure were the fight against cancer, negotiations on long-term corona vaccine contracts, the EHDS and the care of the Ukrainians. Where will Sweden set its focus?

Sweden is expected to address the many healthcare issues up for negotiation in the coming year, such as the proposal for a European Health Data Space (EHDS) and advance the Commission's plans on pharmaceutical legislation. The Swedish Presidency will also promote the implementation of the European Plan to Beat Cancer while continuing efforts to renew the EU's global health strategy and tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

What role will the European Health Data Space play?

Being an important topic, the EHDS ranks high on the new Swedish government's agenda and constitutes a key priority to the Swedish EU presidency. Sweden has already initiated several national studies aiming to align the country toward EHDS, demonstrating its position of support. At Roche, we believe this is a critical way forward to ensure improved patient outcomes as we continue to work with many of our stakeholders on developing the elements to make EHDS a success.

Is there a chance of significant progress during the Swedish Presidency?

Absolutely. EU issues are very high on the Swedish government's agenda and two important regulations/legislations will be adopted during the Swedish Presidency. Sweden is a leading life sciences nation and has a crucial role to play in ensuring an environment in Europe that is conducive to life sciences innovation. Many of the issues on the EU agenda during this time have the potential to shape the future of healthcare in Europe.

What can we expect from the Pharmaceutical Strategy and the European Plan to Beat Cancer?

Sweden will be driving the implementation of the EU Beating Cancer Plan. The country has an ambitious cancer strategy and has made impressive progress over the years in screening, diagnosis and access to treatment to improve patient outcomes. Sweden can promote best practice and ensure that further progress is made in Europe in this important area of focus.

Has Roche lobbied the Swedish government for specific concerns in healthcare during its presidency?

Yes. Roche has been working closely together with the Swedish Trade Association for the Research-based Pharmaceutical Industry (LIF) and has been lobbying the Swedish government for several years. Our focus has been on precision medicine, implementation of the EU's plan to beat cancer, and health data to support evidence generation and patient access.

Where do you see the greatest potential for the Swedish Presidency to make a positive impact?

In all of the above. We recognise that Sweden, as a leading life sciences nation, has an important role to play in ensuring an innovation-friendly environment in the EU. This will be relevant to many of the issues that will be addressed by the EU during the Presidency, not least the update of the pharmaceutical legislation.

Kara Brotemarkle - General Manager Sweden (left)
Elin Gustavsson - Strategy and Pipeline Partner Sweden (right)

Swedish EU Council Presidency is set to create an environment that values innovation in life sciences

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