EPF-Medicines for Europe dialogue 2018

On 8 October, EPF met with Medicines for Europe for the annual dialogue between our members. Patient representatives from all over Europe met with representatives of the generics, biosimilars and value-added medicines industry to exchange perspectives and discuss how to optimize efforts for better access to high-quality medicines for patients. The dialogue was made up of four short presentation and discussion sessions on the EPF “Roadmap to achieving universal health coverage for all by 2030”, ensuring availability and patient access to generic medicines, increasing access to biosimilar medicines, and value-added medicines. A summary of the presentations and discussion can be found in the meeting report.

By early 2019, EPF will be publishing a briefing on biosimilars and generics, which will set the scene for a consultation with the EPF membership and lead to the development of a position statement in 2019.

Gunilla Göran, representing the European Network of Fibromyalgia Associations and the Swedish Rheumatic Association, participated in this meeting and has written the piece below to provide a patients’ perspective of this exchange.

What does a patient need? A big and complex question, right?

While it is imperative that we receive a professional response when dealing with doctors and other caregivers, empathy and skills are also important steps on the path to our own approach to the disease.

What is more important than the patient's voice about his/her own treatment and rehabilitation, after all! The opportunity to be invited to discuss the role of patients and to strengthen their voices in the healthcare sector, is a great opportunity to move beyond being a passive patient to becoming an active patient.

A major and important shift in perspective for patients is when EPF and Medicines for Europe invite patients to discussions and dialogues on the patient's role in healthcare. It has been with great pleasure and curiosity that I met patient representatives from different European countries and discussed how our respective countries' healthcare and pharmaceutical systems are organised. It is also with great satisfaction, I can say, that our views were received with great openness, courtesy and professionalism.

Nicola Bedlington, EPF Secretary General, Adrian van den Hoven, Medicines for Europe Secretary General, and collaborators from both organisations have invited patient representatives to this series of meetings for a couple of years now. The respect and understanding of the patient's voice acquired has allowed us to define a strong common strategy for patient representatives' comments and opinions.

For us patient representatives and patients in Europe, it is a great asset that EPF and Medicines for Europe cooperate for the patient's best care and for patients' access to generics and biosimilars. The dialogue between us shows sometimes very large differences across Europe in many areas relating to patients’ rights.

I am looking forward to continuing the important dialogue between patient representatives, the European Patient´s Forum, Medicines for Europe and their members to demonstrate, speed up and influence decision makers in Europe in favour of the best care for patients.

To all of the very kind and professional people I met during the meetings, I say thank you.

Gunilla Göran - The European Network of Fibromyalgia Associations ENFA
The Swedish Rheumatic Association SRA