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17 July 2019
Asthma , COPD, Allergy
- Healthcare, - Medicines

EFA Director Susanna Palkonen attended the annual networking event of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries Associations (EFPIA). The event was hosted by the Finnish EU Presidency.

Economy of Wellbeing in the focus of Finnish EU Presidency

The Finnish Permanent Secretary for Health, Päivi Sillanaukee shared the theme for the upcoming Finnish presidency “Economy of Wellbeing”, and presented the plan for the next six months.

EFA states its disappointment on HTA progress

Among others, the EU health technology assessment (HTA) regulation proposal is transferred from the Romanian presidency to the Finnish. Mrs Sillanaukee cordially said that there is a long way to go since direction and definition of HTA (still) vary among EU member states.

At EFA we were disappointed to take notice about the little progress on HTA made so far, but we are confident that an agreement can be found. We point out its necessity, and from a patients’ perspective, that the silos in HTA are suboptimal and a barrier to equal and timely access for European patients.

On the other hand, at EFA we welcome the integrated approach of the Finnish presidency on health and economy.

Call for a European Institute for Health Research

Other speakers came from regulatory agencies, EFPIA companies and the European Bio Medical Alliance, calling for European Institute for Health Research, an idea arising from the Horizon 2020 Scientific Panel for Health and the new Director of the European Patients Forum (EPF) Usman Khan.

Mr Khan recalled the need to involve patients, but also understand that such an involvement needs to be systematic. Patients need to be empowered to take a participatory role and should not be expected to take it on a voluntary basis.

Missing patients’ perspective and patient involvement in IMI

Pierre Meulien, Director of Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) presented the excellent progress of the public-private initiative, systematically involving patients and their organisations.

EFA agrees, but notes that patient groups are often contacted by research  consortia at a late stage of the preparation of the project proposal. Unfortunately, too late as to insert a patient perspective and plan a work package to involve patients in the research.

EFA welcomes EFPIA commitment to change approach for dialogue with stakeholders

Ms Nathalie Moll, Director of EFPIA closed the event and reiterated EFPIA’s commitment that industry is ready to change its approach in dialogue with other stakeholders. A commendable openness and commitment. More information on the EFPIA conference can be found here. For information on the Finnish presidency please see here.