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Patient Power and the Role of Biotech in Europe

Date

20 Oct 2009

Sections

Health & Consumers
Agriculture & Food

Strasbourg 20 October 2009

The new revolution in patient power was the topic of discussion at today’s EuropaBio event in the European Parliament, Strasbourg.

The event, hosted by Swedish EPP MEP Christofer Fjellner, highlighted the increasingly influential role played by patients in managing their own care and recovery. So far, more than 350 million patients have benefitted from medicines manufactured through biotechnology and gene technology to treat or prevent heart attacks, strokes, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, leukemia, hepatitis, diabetes and other diseases. In addition, an estimated 50% of all new medicines will originate from biotechnologies. EuropaBio was pleased to organize the discussion in support of the evolution of patient-centred healthcare systems and the commitment to work together with patients towards providing answers to unmet medical needs.

Roxana Radulescu, Senior Policy Advisor for the European Patients’ Forum, who spoke at the event said: “When a person becomes a patient with a chronic disease, often, one of their worst fears is a loss of control over the way they lead their lives. Access to high quality, timely, objective information about their condition and possible treatments and support puts the patient in the driving seat and helps restore their confidence in the future. Patients across the EU want equal access to better information and resources to be real partners in determining their care. This is what we strive for in our EPF Patients’ Manifesto ‘ 150 million reasons to act’”.

Host MEP Christofer Fjellner commented: “Today’s session has helped raise awareness of the urgent need to update and modernize current legislation on information about medicines. It’s evident that we need better access to information about medicines to empower patients all over Europe. To achieve this we need a broad commitment from all European institutions.”

Speaker, Mr Thomas Bols, Chair of the Healthcare Council at EuropaBio, outlined how the complexities specific to biotech medicine meant that new insights needed to be thoroughly and openly discussed within society. Challenges, such as complex ideas to pass on to patients and new approaches to promote development of treatments, meant that maintaining the flow of information and dialogue would be essential, he said. He also highlighted that, so far, 20 to 30 million Europeans and their families have benefitted from therapies for rare and very rare genetic diseases, which were developed and manufactured using biotechnology.

Chair of EuropaBio, Dr Andrea Rappagliosi, who concluded the session, summarized: “The future of healthcare is clear: patients must be placed at the centre of any medical, social, economical and ethical consideration. EuropaBio now calls on the European institutions to ensure that patients’ needs, as well as their expertise, form the foundations for the development of future healthcare policy.”

For further information, please contact

Julie Kjestrup

Manager, Healthcare, EuropaBio

Tel: +32 2 739 11 78; Email: j.kjestrup@europabio.org

Joanna Dupont Inglis

Communications Manager, EuropaBio

Tel: +32 2 739 11 84 Gsm: +32 476 607 135 Email: j.dupont@europabio.org

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