May was a busy month for the patients' community: we met with our members at our Annual General Meeting and voted for a healthier Europe during the Elections for the European Parliament.
New members, new Board
We launched two members’ working groups on patient empowerment and access at our 2014 Annual General Meeting (AGM) in May to consolidate our work in these areas.
EPF now represents 64 patient organisations as new memberships were approved at our AGM. The Hungarian Alliance of Patients’ Organisations (HAPO), the Croatian Coalition of Associations in Healthcare (CAH), the European Aids Treatment Group(EATG), and the European Haemophilia Consortium (EHC) have joined EPF as Full members, while the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland became an Associate member.
Our members also elected new members to the EPF Board. We were delighted to welcome two new members: Brian Charles West of the European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG) and Dominik Tomek of the Association for the Protection of Patients' Rights in Slovak Republic.
Anders Olauson, Susanna Palkonen and Tomasz Szelągowski were elected once again, respectively as EPF President, Vice-President and Treasurer.
Avril Daly and Philip Chircop stepped down this year and we thanked them for their great commitment.
Our vote for a healthier Europe
Our Campaign for the 2014 EU Elections ended on 25 May when the votes closed. Out of the 75 candidates who supported our Manifesto, 34 were re-elected (link) and we will work with them to ensure that patients have the right place on the European healthcare agenda.
Together with the wider health community, EPF welcomed the European Commission President Juncker’s decision in October to keep the pharmaceutical portfolio in the Directorate-General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO). His initial intention was to give this responsibility to DG for Enterprise and Industry (DG ENTR).
We remain puzzled however that health technologies’ dossier is transferred to the Enterprise Directorate. We expressed our concerns regarding this move together with other health stakeholders in a joint letter (link).
Vytenis Andriukaitis, a former Lithuanian health minister and doctor, began his mandate as the new EU commissioner for health and Food Safety in November. He summed up his main priorities as being ‘Promotion, Prevention, and Protection’ (link, PDF).