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Report from the EUPATI annual conference

The EUPATI conference was held in Rome, Italy, on 19 April 2013. More than 180 delegates attended the event coming from 28 countries. It was the occasion, 14 months after the launch of this EPF-led EU project, to hear about the plans under way and to look ahead at the future challenges.

Barely two years ago had the idea of this academy emerged from discussions in the PatientPartner project. They came to the conclusion that patients need training and education to enable them to play a full part in the medicines Research and Development (R&D) process.

The Rome conference demonstrated how far the idea had developed. As several speakers said, the academy will offer a ‘window of opportunity’ for effective patient involvement in medicines R&D.

The discussions focused on the plans under way. As EUPATI does not have enough resources to replicate the project in every country and language of the EU, it was decided to restrict the tools. The three clear areas of training and education that will be developed are, as follows:

  • A certificate level course delivered only in English will produce by 2017 100 patient experts across Europe
  • Online education tools and the Internet library will be developed for 10,000 patient representatives. They will be available in the seven most frequently spoken languages in Europe – English, German, Spanish, Polish, French, Italian and Russian (not strictly a European language, but widely spoken by older people in central and eastern Europe)
  • The National Platforms will be established in 12 countries only to do the work in their own countries

Finally the participants discussed the overarching concern about sustainability. The project is funded by the European Commission’s Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), but only until 2017. By then the European Patients’ Academy must have established sufficient roots to carry on. This seems to be a challenge that many participants are ready to take up.

To read the full report about this event, please visit this page on EUPATI website.

For more information, please contact Jan Geissler, EUPATI Director, at jan@patientsacademy.eu.