Securing Health. Importance of the Implementation of the IHR (F8)

Long forgotten holy book – why don’t we live by the rules? 

During the third day of 2015 European Health Forum Gastein’s session on securing health in Europe , we experienced a slight déjà vu during the presentations of the well-prepared presenters. All agreed that the Ebola outbreak gave us some valuable lessons, and that a number of factors impeded our progress. Again, Guénaël Rodier (WHO) stressed that there are actually legally binding regulations in case of public health threats; the International Health Regulations (IHR). Some member states seem to have forgotten that Forum 8these regulations are out there, and that they are legally binding. Like car drivers should not challenge traffic regulations, we should not challenge the IHR. We know that a number of factors impeded the implementation of these regulations: insufficient awareness; lack of integration with health system; insufficient inter-sectoral collaboration; self-assessment of IHR core capacity; limited international collaboration; national legislation; overseas territories; and non-controlled government areas. But despite all lessons learnt from recent public health emergencies, one wonders whether we have learnt enough, to actually change something? Perhaps this is the moment to stop analysing, and to focus on the implementation of the IHR, with a strong personal commitment. Perhaps then, we can balance the priorities and share responsibility (the title lines of this year’s Forum), and improve our past experiences. Continue reading

Access to new medicines in Europe (F6)

How the challenge of funding expensive medicines could foster sustainability 

Sabine VoglerSabine Vogler, Head of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Policies.

How to prioritise the introduction of new high-priced medicines? Gasteiners tried to find the answer to this daunting question on Thursday afternoon at this year’s European Health Forum Gastein during the session titled ”Access to new medicines in Europe”. Continue reading

Access to High-Quality Healthcare and Innovative Treatment (F9)

Solidarity in approaching access to innovative medicines – idealistic, practical, or both?

In the field of healthcare policy, the year 2015 may well be remembered as the time when access, value and cost issues in medicines were placed firmly on the agenda at a number of international fora.

While access to essential medicines in low to middle-income countries has long been a concern, the recent challenges in wealthier countries, particularly regarding treatments considered innovative, have shown that no health system is immune. In this context, the Forum 9European Health Forum Gastein 2015 featured a number of workshops and fora tackling various aspects of pharmaceuticals access policy. These included sessions on the European Medicines Agency ‘Adaptive Pathways’ project, the challenge of defining ‘value’ in innovation, and specifically the question of achieving access to new medicines in Europe, the latter focusing on new cancer drugs. The final day of the European Health Forum Gastein began with a policy-focused discussion on ‘Access to high-quality healthcare and innovative treatment’. Continue reading

Health Threats Response (L1)

Sense of emergency when it doesn’t affect us? Acute political myopia in case of acute public health problems

“End of first plenary – Lots of great ideas but I think I missed the part where everyone commits to do something”. This tweet by Camille Bullot (@hello_camille) reflected the somewhat bitter aftertaste of the first day of the European Health Forum Gastein 2015. Ebola is coming During this leading health policy conference in the EU, the response to the recent Ebola outbreak has been covered during various sessions and workshops. Many delegates expressed their views that the EU did not manage to respond as quickly as needed – as had been previously expressed by important scientific journals such as the Lancet, describing that ‘international help should have been mobilised sooner’.[1] With a clear lack of an overarching framework for the overall response to address the current crisis with displaced people, one couldn’t help but wonder – Can we really do better? Continue reading

Modern Healthcare (F7 Session 1)

Where will the first ‘big bang’ in e-health come from? Delegates attending Forum 7 discussion on Modern Healthcare discussed the challenges of creating effective tools in mobile and electronic technology, at the 18th European Health Forum Gastein.

For transport, there is Uber. In sports, there is Runtastic, recently sold to Adidas for millions of dollars. And in social media there are numerous ubiquitous apps.

MForum 7 Session 1any professionals and entrepreneurs are working hard to create the ‘next big thing’ in personalised healthcare apps, but so far, there has been little to compare to the explosion of apps in other areas.

Edwin Maarseveen, Project Manager for eHealth at the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports in the Netherlands, and a Young Forum Gastein Scholar, commented on the issue of using e-health for self-management of health problems in a lively and engaging presentation. Continue reading