Health Protection

Health Protection

The fundamental right to health protection is safeguarded by the Council of Europe’s Social Charter. The Council seeks to encourage closer European co-operation in this area and create the conditions for protecting and improving Europeans’ health.

The main activities aim to make health services more democratic and more humane, firstly by proposing policies ensuring fair access to high-quality health care and secondly by promoting full and responsible participation by patients and citizens. Prevention and health education are also among the Council of Europe’s priorities.

Besides the projects involving all the member states, several health-related programmes are carried out under partial agreements comprising the countries that wish to take part.

The Partial Agreement in the Social and Public Health Field, signed in 1959, works on disability issues and consumer health protection (nutrition, cosmetics). The European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Health Care (EDQM) prepares and disseminates standards for medicines, blood transfusion and organ transplantation.

Conference under the Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Combatting Falsified Medical Products and Similar Crimes Through Legal Instruments and Practical Measures, 16 May 2012, Copenhagen, Denmark

Health and enforcement authorities need a common legal basis for health protection, prosecution of counterfeiting medical products and similar crimes (medicrime) and international co-operation. Medicrime is entirely international and concerns all countries, whether for production, transit or sale. The Council of Europe and the Danish Health and Medicines Authority boosted the international fight against medicrime at a conference on 16 May under the Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. A strategy on the implementation of the complementary Council of Europe MEDICRIME Convention and the EU Directive on Falsified Medicines was developed.

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"Child-friendly Health Care: Building a Healthy Future for and with Children"

European Health Ministres discussed a child-friendly approach to health care, on 29 and 30 September 2011 in Lisbon (Portugal). On the agenda were children's rights to health protection, the participation of children, aspects of equity and accessibility to healthcare for every child, and policies and good practices to promote children's health and well-being.

Council of Europe Deputy Secretary General, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, and Portuguese Health Minister, Dr Paulo Moita de Macedo opened the event.

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A Convention to fight against counterfeit medical products

The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers adopted on 8 December 2010 a convention which, for the first time, criminalises the counterfeiting and also manufacturing and supplying of medical products placed on the market without authorisation or without being in compliance with security requirements, the MEDICRIME Convention.

It is the first international criminal law instrument to oblige States Parties to criminalise: the manufacturing of counterfeit medical products, the supplying, offering to supply and trafficking in counterfeit medical products, the falsification of documents and the unauthorised manufacturing or supplying of medicinal products and the placing on the market of medical devices which do not comply with conformity requirements.

The Convention was opened for signature at an international high-level Conference in Moscow, on 28 October 2011.

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Public hearing into handling of Swine Flu pandemic (29 March 2010)

The Assembly held a second public hearing on the subject ''The handling of the H1N1 pandemic: more transparency needed'' in Paris on 29 March, followed by a press conference. Participants at the hearing included Ewa Kopacz, Polish Health Minister, the Professor Marc Gentilini, Dr Tom Jefferson, Health researcher and Michèle Rivasi. (more ...)

File on the first hearing

Did you know that...

... the International Health Day takes place on 7 April every year?


Europe’s children are not being listened to enough by their doctors. That is one of the key findings of a new survery, commissioned by the Council of Europe, in order to find out if young people are receiving ‘'child-friendly healthcare'’.