FENAER’s Activities in December On Thursday the 5th of December, FENAER participated in a meeting along with other members of the Spanish Patients Forum to advise on the consequences of budget cuts brought by the government of Mariano Rajoy in Spain and how it could affect patients with chronic diseases. It was agreed the measures are provoking “many sick people” to abandon their treatments as they can no longer cover their costs. For example, FENAER is encountering cases of families, in which all are allergy patients, but decision needs to be made concerning whom will be receiving the allergy vaccine as “they cannot afford to pay for them all” to receive it. The patients association agreed to meet as “one voice” in front of the Administration and stand together to prevent further budget cuts. On December 10th, as a member of the Spanish Patients Forum, FENAER participated in a workshop entitled “Itinerary of the Chronic Patient” hosted by the Global Institution for Public health. On the 11th of December, FENAER participated in a questionnaire directed towards chronic patients and their families. The questionnaire was the initiative of Professor D. Manuel Sánchez from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, to get to know the daily routines and struggles of respiratory patients and find ways to improve their quality of life. The test consisted of filling in a questionnaire and pooling suggestions the participants can make.   One Step Closer to the Introduction of Plain Tobacco Packaging in Ireland The Asthma Society of Ireland welcomes the Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly’s announcement on 19th of November that the Government has approved the General Scheme for legislation to standardise tobacco packaging. The Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill 2013 will see the introduction of plain packaging and much larger health warnings on all tobacco products for sale in Ireland. The Bill will outlaw forms of branding such as trademarks and logos on cigarette packs and on roll-your-own packs and will determine the size and positioning of the warnings, making it much harder for tobacco companies to market their brand. Sharon Cosgrove, CEO of the Asthma Society, commented “5,200 people die from smoking related illness in Ireland every year. For the tobacco industry these tragic deaths mean the loss of customers who must be replaced if they are to continue making profits. The introduction of standardised tobacco packaging will reduce the tobacco industry’s ability to market their product and replace the 5,200 people who die each year with new customers- namely Ireland’s children. Tobacco smoke is a major asthma trigger and poses a massive health threat to people with asthma. We welcome the Government’s decision to approve the Heads of the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Bill and taking the next step towards a Tobacco Free Ireland.” The Government has also approved the recommendation by the Minister for Health that General Scheme of the bill be submitted for hearings by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children for review and report. Minister Reilly said at the announcement “The Government is determined to implement this legislation, in particular for the sake of the children and young people of Ireland. Cigarette packs have been described as the last billboard for the tobacco industry; this legislation will force the industry to show with greater clarity, the potential devastating effects of smoking on health. As it stands the tobacco companies use packets of various shapes and colors to attract young people to take up the killer habit. Standardized Packaging – all the one type –with much larger warnings will be a deterrent. Today’s decision by the Government will also contribute to our goal of achieving a Tobacco Free Ireland by the year 2025.” 71 % of Irish people support the legislation. See more here.   Important Information: Recall of Jext® Auto-injectors Allergy UK has been alerted by ALK-Abello the manufactures of the Jext® auto-injector of adrenaline that certain batches of Jext® are being recalled due to a manufacturing fault. The MHRA have initiated a Class 2 patient level recall for some batches of Jext®, the affected batches were dispensed to patients from 8th May 2013 in the UK. Routine testing has revealed that during the production process the needle may have become bent, causing the needle to curl up inside the injector housing upon activation and consequently causing the pen not to deliver the required adrenaline dose. The malfunction only affects a small number, approximately 1 in 2500, of the pens in these batches. Immediate action has been taken to eliminate similar production issues in the future. For a full list of the affected batches please see the attached patient information from ALK-Abello. Allergy UK have been advised to inform anyone with a Jext® auto-injector of adrenaline from one of the affected batches that they should make an appointment to see their GP as soon as possible for a replacement auto-injector. In order to meet the demand created by this recall, Meda Pharmaceuticals the manufacturers of  EpiPen® has sourced additional stocks from the US; due to this some EpiPen® adrenaline auto-injectors dispensed will have a US label on the actual device but this is the only difference.  US stocks have been repacked in the UK livery and will contain additional patient safety information, regarding the correct method of administration For further information please visit, contact ALK-Abelló on 0800 028 3144 or This email address is being protected from spambots. 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The EFA Team