May 2017 – EPF Calls for Meaningful Patient Involvement in EU Health Policy Dossiers

2017 saw the continuation of our engagement in crucial policy topics for patients in Europe. EPF, thanks to its broad representativeness, stood forth to voice patients’ interests and called for meaningful involvement of patients as equal partners in health-related policy dossiers.

Guided by the feedback from our members, the EPF policy team advanced patients’ interest in several key dossiers. Here is a short recap:

    • eHealth: Over the last few years, eHealth has been an increasing policy priority for EPF. In January we disseminated our position paper, and throughout 2017 we participated in several conferences and fora where we underlined the need to foster patient‐centred development of eHealth, with equity of access, patient safety, and quality of care as key pillars.
    • Medical Devices:The regulations on Medical Devices and on In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices were adopted by the European Parliament in April. Both legislations pave avenues towards safer and more traceable devices but miss an important opportunity to ensure meaningful patient involvement. That said, EPF welcomed the adoption of the two pieces of legislation, as they lay down stricter rules ensuring that medical devices are traceable and comply with patient safety standards.
    • HTA: The European Commission launched a public consultation on Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and the results confirmed the need for a sustainable EU collaboration on HTA beyond 2020, echoing EPF’s recommendations on stronger and deeper cooperation between Member States. In this regard, EPF sees a window of opportunities for the patient community across Europe to rethink patient involvement in HTA and will continue its engagement in HTA, representing patients’ interests and calling for a fair patient involvement.
    • Cross-Border Healthcare:  After the publication of a position paper in 2016 which shows a very patchy situation across Europe – with discrepancies in access and an overall lack of clear information for patients about their rights and entitlements –, EPF decided to keep working on the topic in 2017. In November, EPF organised a roundtable to discuss the implementation of the EU Directive on patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare. The event provided an updated assessment of the current state of implementation of the directive from the perspective of patients across the EU and was an opportunity to hear from patient representatives on what is working well and where there are gaps and unmet needs.
    • Clinical Trials: A long-standing priority for EPF, in 2017 we published a factsheet on clinical trials that explains the concept in simple terms and discusses the main aspects of the EU framework relevant for patients. 

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