#EAPM – The holidays are here, and not before time…

| April 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Health Correspondent

Easter is almost upon us, and all here at EAPM hope you will have a happy and refreshing break, writes European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM) Executive Director Denis Horgan.

And, while it wasn’t the best of starts to Holy Week, with the devastating fire at Notre Dame in Paris, things must always move forward.

On the other hand, as we approach the end of the fourth month of 2019 (yes, already!), we’d like to take this opportunity to also look back a little on what has been happening in our field and beyond since the turn of the year.

Brexit (oh dear) has rumbled on and on, and continues to rumble like a kid with a hungry tummy waiting for his Easter eggs. And with the rumbling has come grumbling and, lest we forget, two missed deadlines already (29 March and 12 April).

It’s fair to say that while the majority of those in government in the EU-27 don’t actually want the UK to leave – certainly not in a no-deal scenario – they’re all getting a little fed up. Will it have all come to an end by the festival of All Saints’ Day? Or Christmas? Or even next Easter? Who knows?

It’s almost as though British prime minister Theresa May is on a hunt for an elusive shiny, golden Easter egg – one that probably doesn’t exist – while her merry band of parliamentary and governmental colleagues keep rejecting the ones she actually has found.

And what is the major sticking point in the proposed withdrawal deal? A hard border in Ireland. Which no longer exists due to…the Good Friday Agreement. Yes, Good Friday. Let’s all let that sink in (especially you, Arlene Foster).

So, Brexit is stuck like Winnie the Pooh with his face in a jar of honey, but it’s not just the Brits who have reached an impasse. The whole debate on health technology assessment (or HTA) is equally stuck, albeit now at Council stage.

Several countries are still opposed to the Commission proposals with respect to mandatory EU joint-action on HTA (despite the European Parliament largely backing it). This has chugged along Brexit-style, to the point that the Austrian Presidency of the EU tried extremely hard but failed to make a breakthrough and, given that situation, the Romanian presidency deliberately chose to deal with the technical aspects only.

Important work, yes, but the baton for what will hopefully be the final leg will be past to Finland on 1 July. So good luck, Helsinki.

On a more positive note, EAPM held its 7th annual conference earlier this month – yes, 7th, how time flies – and the Brussels event is the subject of a report which you can find online, here.

As ever, the great and the good stakeholders in personalised medicine gathered in the Belgian capital to discuss the best ways to get innovation working for the benefit of patients, not least through policymaker action.

The Alliance has always emphasized the role of policy in the field of healthcare, and it was especially underlined (like a Westminster three-line whip?) in this year of European Parliamentary elections, which will take place with or without the Brits.

After that, in will come the new European Commission with its own five-year mandate, and engaging with the relevant committees and departments in both institutions remains an EAPM priority.

So, back to the future, and the Alliance has already set the dates for its 3rd annual Congress (also in Brussels) on 4-5 December.

The theme will be Forward together with innovation: The importance of policy making in the era of personalised medicine.

EAPM has matured over the years through dialogue positioning personalised medicine as the way forward in modern healthcare. The next step is to facilitate bringing it well-and-truly into the EU’s health-care systems.

Congress will showcase different objectives which both the public and private sector can support, with a view to allowing the EU to present a common objective.Â

Innovation and the incentives for it are key to health and wealth in the current EU-28 (and will be even more important after the UK leaves).Â

The ultimate aim of Congress is to produce tangible results and recommendations that appropriately represent the state of play in personalised medicine and focus on how the multi-stakeholder community can take the many differing elements forward.

EAPM is sure that its 3rd annual Congress will move Europe forward in this regard.

In the meantime, we have Easter and then another Brexit deadline, and then those European elections.

In the background this week, the UK’s Tories and opposition parties may (or may not) be having continued discussions on a deal, but nobody is holding their breath as they’ve all been on holiday for a week already and are not due back in Parliament until St George’s Day (23 April).

Incidentally, to sign off, if you didn’t already know the word ‘Easter’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn, who is named Eostre.

Easter, among obvious symbols relating to Christianity (and paganism, of course), marks the return of warmth to the earth – a time when plants start to grow again and animals make merry. Usually with each other.

And for we humans, the fasting of Lent finishes. And we can eat chocolate again. Or in the case of Brexit, perhaps sit back and open some more popcorn…

Whatever you choose to do during the Easter period, have a great holiday!

Source:: EU Reporter Feed



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