Interview with Robert Madelin

Robert Madelin on innovation, digitisation and SDGs in Euro

During the 20th European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG), we had the opportunity to interview Robert Madelin. Robert is Fipra International’s Chairman and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Technology and Global Affairs. Previously, Robert held a series of senior leadership positions at the European Commission: as Senior Adviser for Innovation, as Director General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CONNECT) and as Director General for Health and Consumer Policy (SANCO). Robert regularly attends the EFHG and moderated the closing plenary. He is therefore the perfect fit for an interview with challenging questions by the Young Gasteiners.

1. What innovation will influence health care the most in the next 3 years?
Robert started by giving his own definition on innovation. Innovation is a new thing, either a process or technology, which society applies and which changes society for the better. I can dream about technologies that I want society to adopt, but the ones that will help health care in the next three years will be the ones that health care chooses to adopt. As, we see with vaccine hesitancy, people sometimes do not adopt innovation. There is no benefit in having world class vaccines if you do not adopt them. For innovation to be adopted takes both the technology and the social marketing of the health benefit. To predict which innovation will influence health care the most, I would say big data and data analytics. Getting the data, structure and analyse it. This can be illustrated by CODE, the Collaboration for Oncology Data in Europe. With 50 data points, anonymized for each patient, CODE enables another clinic that has never used a given drug to get real evidence to guide use. By putting data together and networking the data you create value. Continue reading

Patients at the crossroads of innovation and affordability – strengthening the patient voice during discussions on new medicines at the EHFG

Nicola Bedlington, Secretary General of the European Patients Forum (EPF) spoke with Young Gasteiner Dimitra Panteli about patient representation in the pharmaceutical pricing debate and how we can do more to bring the patient voice across, following a Lunch Workshop organized by Celgene and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). The workshop centered on a simulation exercise, which asked participants to put themselves in the position of a pharmaceutical company CEO and make decisions that would shape the price of a hypothetical new product as well as the fictional company’s future investment strategy.

Nicola Bedlington speaks about the patient perspective at the EHFG 2017

YG (DP): During the simulation exercise we were asked to price a new pharmaceutical product based solely on the prices of existing, similar products – and nothing else. This felt a bit counter-intuitive to me, but I have never actually been a CEO. How did you see it from the patient perspective? Continue reading

Silence isn’t Golden: Lending an Ear and Giving a Voice to Promote Policy Action on Mental Health (W5)

Mental health problems affect 38% of EU residents at some point during any given year and yet we are often ashamed to talk openly about this elephant in the room. This workshop began with the very personal and poignant story of Geraldine Niedersüß, a courageous mother of two sons whose lives were both lost due to severe mental illness. Philipp Niedersüß was the second son of Geraldine and she described him as a very bright, clever and sporty young man whose mental health battle began at the age of 11 years. Philipp’s sport teacher noticed that something was wrong as he rather suddenly became withdrawn and reserved. Nevertheless, Philipp’s first visit to the GP resulted in no diagnosis after a physical examination revealed that he was perfectly healthy. However, after Philipp returned home he was in a catatonic state and would sit at his desk for hours on end as his mother Geraldine tried to coax him and comfort him to speak about what was wrong. Finally after he said he was too confused to speak his mother took him to another doctor who said that Philipp was suffering from a classical depression but twenty-five years ago it was not common for children to be diagnosed with depression in Austria. Philipp was prescribed medication but its side effects caused him to have tummy aches and become even more withdrawn. Continue reading

When European health is going global (P3)

The closing session of the 2017 European Health Forum Gastein focused on “Global perspectives on Health in All Politics”. Strange, you might say, for a forum with “Europe” in its name! Then, after expanding health to all politics and all stakeholders, are we now supposed to expand to the whole world?

Without a doubt, answered the speakers. All members of the panel highlighted the great opportunity both the Sustainable Development Goals and the election of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – a former Minister of Health and Foreign Affairs – as the new Director-General of the World Health Organization, represent to promote health and global health in all politics.  Additionally, as Ilona Kickbusch, Director of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, reminded us, other sectors and actors have already seized the opportunity of going global. She explained that the impact of global corporations and investors on health – starting with taxes and investments into lucrative yet very unhealthy goods – call for stronger global financial regulations and discussions. With the example of civil society capacity building, Wanjiku Kamau, Executive Director of Advocacy Accelerator in Kenya, also explains that both the North and the South share similar challenges – thus calling for shared policy response. Continue reading

Health Futures in a post-truth world (F7)

Health Futures in a post truth world? – How today shapes tomorrow     

‘In the nineteenth century health was transformed by clear, clean water. In the twenty-first century, health will be transformed by clean clear knowledge’ (Sir Muir Gray).

The European Health Forum Gastein invited conference participants to a two part workshop on Health Futures in a post-truth world. At first, the session discussed the impact of fake news, conspiracy, alternative facts and false news on health.

Participants were asked – “Has the post-truth reality already intruded into your world, either social life or professional environment?  – The majority answered yes, to both. Continue reading