EUROPEAN PATIENTS’ RIGHTS DAY 2017 (10 May 2017)

How to better access to innovative therapies: in Brussels today the
11th Patients’ Rights Day promoted by Active Citizenship Network and dozens of European civic associations.

Active Citizenship Network is celebrating today, with a multi-stakeholder conference at EESC in Brussels the 11th European Patients’ Rights Day.
The aim of the convention was to discuss, inform and suggest new approaches to the existing European and National Medicines Regulatory Systems, for better management of access to innovation. Indeed, the access to innovative therapies strongly contributes to define the quality of life of patients and the quality of healthcare services provided, respecting the fundamental values recognised by the European Charter of Patients’ Rights, promoted by Active Citizenship Network in 2012, and undersigned by dozens of European civic associations (list available on www.activecitizenship.net). The event was an occasion to inform, discuss and take commitments to improve the respect of patients’ rights and their involvement in the policy-making and regulatory processes at national and European level.

The event was held thanks to the support of TEVA, Merck, Novartis, Roche, Boehringer Ingelheim.

Addressing the conference participants through a video message, Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety said: “This year’s Patients’ Rights Day is important because it gives patients and their families messages of hope to get better as soon as possible thanks to equitable, timely and affordable access to high quality healthcare. A number of important Commission initiatives address these issues. Patients are at the centre of cross-border healthcare directive, Health Technology Assessment, European Reference Networks for rare and complex diseases, to give just three examples. Patient involvement in the assessment process of new and innovative technologies remains an important issue. To promote this, the Commission has supported, and continues to support, active stakeholder involvement in cooperation initiatives.”

The Council conclusions on Innovation for the benefit of patients during the European semester of the Italian Presidency (December 2014) recognised that “innovations in healthcare can contribute to health and well-being of citizens and patients through access to innovative products, services and treatments that have added value with regard to the existing ones and can also lead to more effective ways to organise, manage and monitor work within the health sector as well as to improve the working conditions for healthcare staff”.

Nevertheless, for example, in many European countries patients still have to wait a long period of time before the medicines, although already approved by the European Commission on the basis of the EMA/CHMP positive feedback, are available.

ACN made a survey before the conference to know if and how patient representatives and associations are officially involved in the decision making process within the national medicine agency. The answers from 20 EU Countries show that 10 are involved in the process, against 10  who are not. For this reason we put together Representatives of National Medicines Agencies and Patient Associations from countries with and without an official patients’ committee in the National Medicines Agency to exchange experiences and learn each other the best way to act.

"The outcomes of the Conference will be implemented through several follow-up activities:
-Concrete policy suggestions will be made and then shared with the MEPs Interest Group “European Patients’ Rights & Cross-Border Healthcare”, declared Antonio Gaudioso, secretary general of Cittadinanzattiva-Active Citizenship network. “Initiatives will be promoted in the different Member States, in partnership with local civic and patient associations, in order to sensitize the National Authorities about patient involvement in their internal processes. Then, training courses addressed to the leaders of European civic and patient associations on themes such as access to generic medicines; European and national Regulatory Systems; Health Technology Assessment and so on will be promoted in order to encourage the active sharing of reflections and experiences."

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