Advanced therapy medicinal products

Advanced therapy medicinal products are new medical products based on genes (gene therapy), cells (cell therapy) and tissues (tissue engineering). These advanced therapies herald revolutionary treatments of a number of diseases or injuries, such as skin in burns victims, Alzheimer’s, cancer or muscular dystrophy. They have huge potential for patients and industry.

The lack of an EU-wide regulatory framework in the past led to divergent national approaches which hindered patients’ access to products, hampered the growth of this emerging industry and ultimately affected EU competitiveness in a key biotechnology area.

The EU institutions agreed on a Regulation on advanced therapies (Regulation (EC) 1394/2007) designed to ensure the free movement of advanced therapy products within Europe, to facilitate access to the EU market and to foster the competitiveness of European companies in the field, while guaranteeing the highest level of health protection for patients.

To read more about advanced therapy medicinal products on the European Commission website go to: Advanced therapies – European Commission

New brochure on best practices in mental health launched

While many research institutions, care centres, non‐ governmental organisations, and governments within the EU conduct programmes and practices centred on mental health, it can be difficult to find information about them and to ensure their use and scale up in other settings. Good practices are a valuable resource contributing to sharing of knowledge and experience, and facilitating improvements in mental health by encouraging their adaptation and implementation.

The EU Compass for Action on Mental Health and Well‐being has been commissioned by the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (Chafea) to collect, exchange, and analyse information on policy and stakeholder activities in mental health.

To read the booklet in full on the Europa website go to: https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/mental_health/docs/2017_mh_work_schools_en.pdf

EU countries should use pesticides more sustainably

A report on the sustainable use of pesticides Directive adopted by the European Commission takes stock of progress made by the EU Member States in applying measures to reduce the risks and impacts of pesticides. It covers a wide range of topics such as aerial spraying, information to the public or training of professionals. The report indicates insufficient implementation of the Directive on the sustainable use of pesticides.

While the Directive offers the potential to greatly reduce the risks derived from pesticide use these improvements are limited and insufficient to achieve the environmental and health improvements the Directive was designed to achieve. This is largely due to the implementation of the Directive that remains patchy.

To read more about the sustainable use of pesticides and the Directive go to the European Commission website: https://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/pesticides/sustainable_use_pesticides_en

VulnerABLE: Improving the health of those in isolated and vulnerable situations

This European initiative shall increase our understanding of how best to improve the health of people who are living in vulnerable and isolated situations across Europe. The project targets specific vulnerable and isolated populations such as children and families from disadvantaged backgrounds; those living in rural/isolated areas; those with physical, mental and learning disabilities or poor mental health; the long-term unemployed; the inactive; the ‘in-work poor’; older people; victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence; people with unstable housing situations (the homeless); and prisoners.

Due to their circumstances, these groups may be more at risk of poor health and/or face barriers in accessing healthcare services. The project will assess their particular health needs and challenges, as well as identify best practices to support them and ultimately improve their health.

To read more about this project, funded by the European Parliament, go to: https://ec.europa.eu/health/social_determinants/projects/ep_funded_projects_en#fragment0

Mid-term evaluation of the European Commission 3rd Health Programme 2014-2020 – European Commission

The mid-term evaluation of the first three years of the implementation of the third Health Programme 2014-2020 reveals that the European Commission has made major progress towards reaching the programme’s objectives.

Most notably, the Commission has helped to:

  • establish 24 European Reference Networks for rare disease patients who can now benefit from the best expertise available in Europe,
  • increase Member States’ capacity-building potential to respond to outbreaks such as Ebola and Zika viruses,
  • and strengthen the EU’s migration policy by helping EU countries cope with the health needs of migrants and refugees and training health professionals and support staff.

Other achievements of the health programme include sharing of good practices in areas as diverse as alcohol reduction, cancer screening, HIV/AIDS and TB prevention, additional support for EU health legislation on medicinal products and medical devices, the eHealth Network activities and Health Technology Assessment.

To read the mid-term evaluation in full go to: https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/programme/docs/2014-2020_evaluation_midtermreport_en.pdf

A breakthrough for men’s health

For the first time, WHO is undertaking a strategy entirely focused on the health and well-being of men and boys. A group of experts from a range of fields and disciplines related to men’s health came together on 5 September 2017 at UN City in Copenhagen, Denmark, to launch the development of the strategy for the WHO European Region.

The strategy will be supported by a report reviewing the evidence on topics such as addressing premature mortality, the intersection between masculinities and existing inequalities, health systems responses to men throughout the life-course, and the role of men in promoting gender equality in health. The report will provide a framework to guide and inform the development of country-specific policy responses to improve men’s health.

To read more about this breakthrough for men’s health on the WHO/Europe website go to: WHO/Europe | Gender – Breakthrough for men’s health: WHO and experts kick off development of strategy and report

Living longer, healthier lives

Health-care systems must serve all people at all ages and leave no one behind – this idea is embedded in the core vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As the world marks International Day of Older Persons on 1 October, WHO will launch new guidelines on integrated care for older people (ICOPE) to support the work of Member States towards creating more integrated, person-centred health and long-term care for people at all ages.

The guidelines, which will launch during a high-level meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on 2 October 2017, offer evidence-based guidance to health-care providers on the appropriate approaches at the community level to detect and manage important declines in physical and mental capacities, and to deliver interventions in support of caregivers.

To read more about this initiative on the WHO/Europe website go to: WHO/Europe | Healthy ageing – Living longer, healthier lives – working towards integrated, people-centred care for older persons

Health system performance assessment: Reporting and Communicating, a Practical Guide for Policy Makers

During the meetings of the EU expert group on HSPA, several experts expressed their interest to look at specific practical topics that could be of interest to policy makers, e.g. how to present HSPA findings, simplicity of the communication vis-à-vis complexity of the analysis, etc.

HSPA is a complex combination of activities that range from the involvement of stakeholders, the building of a political supportive environment, the definition of indicators, and the collection of reliable and comparable data – just to name few of them.

To read the full paper on reporting and communicating, a practical guide for policy makers go to: https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/systems_performance_assessment/docs/2017_hspa_reportingcommunicating_en.pdf

 

World Mental Health Day: New brochure on best practices in mental health launched

On World Mental Health Day, the EU-financed Compass Consortium launched a new brochure on Good Practices for Mental health at work, in schools, and prevention of depression and suicide.  The brochure gathers best practices from across the EU for the benefit of organisations seeking to improve the care that they provide in mental health and well-being – be they schools, workplaces, community centres, counselling services or medical practices.

Examples of potentially useful practices in mental health and well-being, gathered and evaluated by the Consortium include:

  • Mental health at work
  • Mental health in schools
  • Prevention of depression
  • Prevention of suicide

To read the brochure in full go to: https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/mental_health/docs/2017_mh_work_schools_en.pdf

EHMA 2018 Annual Conference

The EHMA 2018 Annual Conference will take place in Budapest, Hungary, at Semmelweis University from 20 – 22 June 2018. The theme, “Making it happen” aims to raise discussions about delivering change and overcoming challenges in policy implementation.

As EHMA Member, (through the Health and Europe Centre – contact us if you are interested in attending) you will have access to extra treatment upon arrival and a complimentary Gala dinner pass, a 100 EUR extra discount on the fees, the opportunity of becoming an EHMA Ambassador and attending the conference for free, and 10% for the group of more than 5 attendees from the same organisation.

Pin it in your agenda and do not miss the Super Early Bird fee available on the Conference website as from Tuesday 26th. You can discover more about the EHMA 2018 Annual Conference and follow the news on the upcoming Call for Abstracts on www.ehma2018.org.