EFA in Meetings

This month EFA reports from the education meeting it co-hosted in Helsinki  on the Finnish Allergy Programme, from a lunchtime debate in the European Parliament on Healthy Ageing with Respiratory Disease, from a conference on telemedicines in Germany and more. 


EFA and the Finnish Allergy and Asthma Federation co-host first Finnish Allergy Programme Educational Meeting in Helsinki

On the 8th and 9th of November, representatives of the Finnish Allergy Programme (FAP) explained to participants of three EFA delegations from Bulgaria, Italy (Tuscany) and Norway how Finnish stakeholders came together to increase awareness and reduce the economic burden of respiratory allergies. As a major component of the EFA Allergy Awareness Project, the meeting in Helsinki gathered key decision makers, experts in the field of allergology and Finnish healthcare professionals, who analysed how Finland has achieved significant success in combating the burden of allergy to date. Following the publication of the EFA Book on Respiratory Allergies in Europe: Raise Awareness, Relieve the Burden and its presentation at the European Parliament in November 2011, the meeting was another milestone in the project of working towards a European-wide approach to raising awareness of respiratory allergies.

Through close cooperation with the Finnish Allergy and Asthma Federation (FAAF), EFA organised the two day meeting for national delegations from EFA member countries, who were guided through the processes and planning of the FAP. Each delegation was invited with a clear intention to work towards the development of national allergy programmes within their own national and regional contexts afterwards. The meeting in Helsinki was a unique opportunity for the delegations, comprised of various national stakeholders in healthcare, to reflect and brainstorm strategies for duplicating the success of the FAP in their own countries. In a forthcoming briefing paper on the event, to be published by the end of December, EFA will provide further details on both the FAP and the key findings of the meeting.

Cyprus presidency looks at Healthy Ageing with Respiratory Disease

A lunch debate on ‘the impact of early diagnosis and control of chronic respiratory diseases on Active and Healthy Ageing’ was held under the auspices of the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the European Union on Tuesday 13th November 2012, at the European Parliament in Brussels, organised by ARIA and co-hosted by EFA and several of our partner organisations such as ERS and EAACI. EFA would like to thank Professor Jean Bousquet (ARIA) for his continued support of people with allergy and respiratory diseases. The lunch debate was a follow up to the Council Conclusions on Children’s Respiratory diseases concluded under the Polish Presidency.

At the meeting, representatives spoke on behalf of the Cypriot and Polish Presidencies, there were interventions on subjects such as allergy and asthma in schools, childhood COPD prevention, and the idea of a combined allergy and asthma plan for the whole EU. Susanna Palkonen spoke on behalf of EFA on the ‘role of the patients’ organisations in the fight against chronic respiratory diseases and allergy’, and outlined EFA’s continual efforts to bring patient perspective to the attention of EU policy makers.

EFA warmly welcomed this initiative as a sign that our disease areas, as well as the concept of healthy aging, continue to feature on the EU agenda at high-level.

The presentations and abstracts from this meeting will be available soon on the net, as will a summary report of the meeting.

EFA attends study trip on telemedicine in Germany

On the 5th and 6th of November 2012, EU Policy and Project Officer Roberta Savli represented EFA on the study trip “Continuity of care and telemedicine/telecare service integration in the German self-governed health system: collaboration of actors”.  The trip visited Potsdam and Berlin and was jointly organised by the Association internationale de la mutualité (AIM) and the European Health Telematics Association (EHTEL), and was hosted by HealthCapital Berlin Brandeburg. Several examples of ehealth in Germany were presented and the Renewing Health project (a European project aiming at implementing real-life test beds for the evaluation of innovative telemedicine services) was mentioned several times. EFA is part of the Stakeholder Advisory Group of the project and gives patient perspective.

EFA attends EMA Pharmacovigilance forum

EFA President Breda Flood attended one of the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) regular Stakeholder Forums on the new Pharmacovigilance legislation in London on the 8th of November. The aims of the forum were to present an update on the implementation of the legislation and future planning, share first impressions on activities undertaken at EMA level and get preliminary stakeholder feedback on the overall implementation process. This was the first meeting for stakeholders since the implementation of the legislation in July 2012.  More information

EFA attends patient med-tech dialogue

This month EFA’s Susanna Palkonen attended the patients-medical technology dialogue meeting, hosted by the EPF and EUCOMED, representing medtech companies. The patient-centred health care model, and how medical technologies fit in it – they are obliged to – was discussed. Both industry (EUCOMED) and patients (EPF) presented initial positions on the Commission’s new proposal for EU medical devices legislation, which was highlighted in our previous issue. EFA is going to prepare a position from our disease area perspective as well, with full member consultation. The need for transparency and the way for partnerships between the patient community and med tech industry was also discussed. The participants divided into small groups to discuss and prioritise actions and topics for the dialogue group.  A small steering group led by EPF and EUCOMED will be formed to follow up and prepare between meetings.

EFA attends IMI health research event

Approximately 150 participants attended the IMI event ‘Health Research at a Crossroads – Are Public-Private Partnerships the Way Forward?’ at the European Parliament in Brussels on the 13th of November. In looking to the future, Europe should build on IMI’s work to ensure that all stakeholders benefit from this innovative and successful way of working. There is a need to optimise the use of patients’ information from clinical trials. EFA President Breda Flood attended the event and queried the role of the new pharmacovigilance legislation and the responsibility of patients to respond. Panellists agreed future public-private partnerships will cover the entire research cycle, including pharmacovigilance. The participants agreed that a renewed public-private partnership in innovative health research under Horizon 2020 should be the way forward; however an appropriate budget is essential. One of the projects highlighted at the meeting was U-BIOPRED, in which EFA participates. A final report of the event can be downloaded here.

Other meetings

Susanna Palkonen also attended the GSK Health Advisory Board (HAB) meeting in London on the 23rd of November, and spoke about respiratory patient advocacy and what has been learned as a result of funding partnerships with industry. On the 28th, she spoke on behalf of EPF at the GSK Finland and British Embassy lunch seminar for Finnish patient groups introducing EPF and the concept of having an umbrella group for patients and being involved in EU health policy.

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