News
15 February 2022
EU
Asthma , Allergy
CARE, - Healthcare

The European Parliament Interest Group on Allergy & Asthma and EFA organised a virtual policy event on ‘Addressing unmet patient needs in allergy and asthma care’ on 13th January. The event was co-hosted by two of the Vice-Chairs of the Interest Group, MEPs Juozas Olekas (Socialists & Democrats – Lithuania) and Tilly Metz (Greens/EFA – Luxembourg).

Against the backdrop of the new EU Pharmaceutical Strategy and the revision of key legislation, such as the general pharmaceutical law and medicines for rare and paediatric diseases, the event was a timely opportunity to set the scene for allergy and asthma with experts from across sectors.

MEP Tilly Metz opened the event with a speech highlighting the different burdens placed on asthma and allergy patients, including social, emotional and economic, as well as the worryingly number of increasing allergy and asthma cases caused by environmental factors.

EFA President Carla Jones kicked off the discussions by outlining the most pressing unmet needs patients face today, including limited access to treatments and attention to allergy, which leads to low interest in research. Carla was joined by Freja Anckers, Member of the European Allergy & Asthma Youth Parliament, who underlined the unique needs of young people, especially in terms of medicine authorisation, while stressing the importance of digital health and the opportunities that come with it.

In the subsequent panel discussion Prof. Jürgen Schwarze, Secretary General of EAACI, Dr Stanimir Hasardzhiev, Secretary General of Patient Access Partnership (PACT), and Tina Taube, Director of Market Access at EFPIA, participated in a lively exchange on the existing challenges. Some of the policy solutions that were voiced included the alignment of reimbursement policies across Europe to enhance patient access to the right treatment; the improvement of existing guidelines to push for the take up of precision medicine, rather than using the umbrella treatments; and the acceleration of digital health to help patient adherence; and greater patient involvement in co-developing products and technologies.

The panel discussion was followed by a Q&A session with the active participation of the co-host MEPs and the audience. MEP Juozas Olekas closed the event by emphasising the importance of a patient-centred approach to addressing unmet needs in healthcare and outlining potential solutions such as a European Health Union and the integration of digital tools.

Check the full event report here. You can watch the recording of the event here.