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EFA in meetings – June 2014

2014 EAACI Annual Congress

On 7-11 June, EFA was actively involved in the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) Annual Congress celebrated in Copenhagen.

EFA’s vice president Christine Rolland presented the patients’ perspective from an ethical dimension. Enabling patients’ involvement throughout the research process is vital to better understand the impact of research and treatments protocols on their quality of life and disease management. In her presentation she stressed that attention for Patient Reported Outcomes can adjust the choice of both diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, to better meet the patient’s needs in order to protect their well-being in the research process.

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Otto Spranger disseminating the Allergy Project results during the Congress.

EFA’s representative Otto Spranger disseminated a pilot study undertaken in Vienna (Austria) called “Pharmacists can help to detect undiagnosed moderate-severe respiratory allergy”. Reality is that far too many patients with respiratory allergy do not recognise their condition and fail to consult a physician while others tend to use proven or unproven means to relieve their symptoms. Against this backdrop, EFA’s Austrian member conducted an evaluation of the role of pharmacists in the early identification of customers with respiratory allergy by using the validated Allergy Screening Test ASF. Between April and June 2013, 315 pharmacies in Vienna were invited to propose questionnaires to customers with symptoms of respiratory allergy or asking for OTC treatment for allergic symptoms the study evaluates. The questionnaire showed that 76% of participants were at a moderate-severe risk of allergy, but only 35% of the total had been tested for allergy; 57% of the never tested participants “clearly felt unwell”. This reflected how pharmacists are often the first health care professionals seeing a person at risk of respiratory allergy. They can motivate at-risk subjects to consult a physician to receive an early and correct diagnosis. Although larger surveys are needed to verify these results, the Austrian “Allergy Risk Check” programme can serve as a best practice model for other European countries.

 

InfoDay on the implementation of the third public health programme

On June 10th, EFA, represented by EU Policy Assistant Jelena Malinina, took part in the InfoDay on the 3rd Public Health Programme (2014-2020) implementation, organised by the European Commission in Luxembourg. The 3rd Health Programme is aimed to complement the health policies of EU Member States to (1) promote health, reduce health inequalities, (2) protect people from serious cross-border health threats, (3) encourage innovation in health and (4) increase the sustainability of the health systems. To achieve the stated goals, the programme offers financial support to the relevant stakeholders.

With an overall budget of €449, 4 million, during 2014-2020, the EU will support:

  • Cooperation projects at EU level;
  • Actions jointly undertaken by Member States’ health authorities;
  • The functioning of non-governmental bodies;
  • Cooperation with international organisations.

The new measures have been summarized by EFA and are available here. The calls for proposals are published on the website of the Consumers, Health and Food Safety Executive Agency (CHAFEA), the body assisting the Commission in implementing the work plan. The deadline to submit the proposals is 25 September 2014, 17.00. As from 2014, submission of proposals will be exclusively held via the Electronic Exchange System of the EU Research & Innovation Participant Portal. Web-streaming and presentations of the InfoDay are available here.

 

Joint meeting of the Scientific Committees’ Working Parties with Patients’ and Consumers’ Organisations (PCWP)

On 3rd June, EFA, represented by Board Member Lina Buzermanienė, took part in the European Medicines Agency (EMA) PCWP.  Discussions were around the Risk Management Plan (RMP), a new communication tool introduced by EMA. The RMP includes a medicine’s safety profile, risk factors for developing side effects, how its risks will be prevented or minimised in patients, plans for studies and other activities to gain more knowledge about the safety and efficacy of the medicine and measuring the effectiveness of risk-minimisation measures.

 

EU health policy: achievements and horizons

On June 23rd, EFA, represented by EU Policy Assistant Jelena Malinina, was present at the event “Together for Health: achievements and future challenges” organised by a public consultancy Weber Shandwick. An ageing population and a growing burden of chronic diseases pose many challenges to public health in Europe, and through numerous strategies, programmes and plans the EU is attempted to address the upcoming problems. Public health experts from both private and public sectors highlighted the following EU public health policy trends and suggestions:

  • Health is more than one policy area, and it is an innovation-driven sector, therefore it has a lot of potential for further development. Health systems cannot be looked at in isolation from other sectors; they should rather reinforce each other.

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    The meeting served to share views in the future EU health development.

  • The EU’s role in chronic diseases management is minor, however, it can play a major role by creating behavior-changing strategies, which would foster individual change on diseases life-styles.
  • eHealth is an essential tool to decrease currently growing burden of chronic diseases and to empower patients. However, eHealth solutions implementation should be underpinned by a strong patient-centered research foundation: the EU is currently supporting not only research within Europe but also international cooperation with the US. Furthermore, special attention should be paid to programmes increasing patients’ digital literacy and to legislative proposals on how to deal with roaming charges on mHealth.
  • The EU should aim to have a single strong voice at the global health arena.

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