EAHP EU Monitor 12 November 2012


The EAHP EU Monitor is a weekly round up of news relevant to hospital pharmacy in Europe.

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European Action Plan launched to develop new tools to assist patient adherence to medicines

A new European action plan was launched this week to help the development of innovative new technologies and processes to improve patient adherence to medication.

The plan is part of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Active and Healthy Ageing, a European Commission-supported initiative to bring together stakeholders to address societal challenges.

Focusing on the fact that the number of people aged 65+ in Europe will almost double over the next 50 years, from 85 million in 2008 to 151 million in 2060, the plan looks for new approaches and innovation in the delivery of this aspect of health care.

Noting that adherence to long-term therapy for certain chronic illnesses in developed countries averages at only 50%, the plan looks to identify innovative organisational, technical and medical practices that could be developed in order to achieve better adherence.

Over 40 stakeholder organisations have so far come forward to contribute to the EIP’s Action Plan developments in these areas, including regional health departments, Universities, national medicines agencies, and pharmaceutical and device companies.

Some of the concepts to be taken forward by the Action Plan include developing new:

  • early warning systems for poor adherence to medicines;
  • ways to use mobile devices to facilitate adherence to medicines;
  • prototype web applications for diabetes medicines management;
  • IT packages to promote real time information exchange between patients, GPs and pharmacists;
  • device sensors which can monitor complex drug compliance;
  • software programmes to help 65+ diabetic and multi-morbidity patients;
  • uses of social network tools to monitor adherence; and,
  • ICT based programmes for remote monitoring of health status and adherence to medical plans.

The Action Plan also envisages the participating stakeholders collaborating to produce new patient empowerment tools, including web-based training programmes. 

Individually active partners in the Plan include the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA), NHS Scotland, the Hospital de Getafe (Spain), the Hospital Clínico San Carlos (Madrid), the Department of Health and Consumer Affairs of the Basque Government, and the University of Coimbra Hospital (Portugal).

See Action Plan document here: http://ec.europa.eu/research/innovation-union/pdf/active-healthy-ageing/a1_action_plan.pdf

News article here: http://www.pmlive.com/pharma_news/europe_launches_health_plan_for_its_ageing_population_448125


European Parliament Health Committee adopts report on “The Microbial Challenge”  

Members of the European Parliament’s Health Committee have voted to recommend a series of actions to be taken by Governments in order to improve their performance in overcoming the challenges of antimicrobial resistance.

The own initiative report, which was led by Anna Rosbach (European Conservatives and Reformists, Denmark), aims to establish a European wide action plan against the rising threat from antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The report estimates that in the EU, Iceland and Norway alone antimicrobial resistant bacteria causes some 400,000 infections and 25,000 deaths annually, with at least EUR 1.5 billion spent on extra healthcare costs and productivity losses.

Amongst its recommendations are:

  • That the European Commission and Member States examine new regulatory approaches to the development of antimicrobial agents and technologies, including transferable intellectual property rights and patent term extensions, with a view to encouraging private sector investment in antimicrobial development
  • The establishment of an effective European network of national surveillance systems to facilitate clear, comparable, transparent and timely reference data on antimicrobial drug usage, based on the fragmented range of existing networks
  • The compilation by the Commission of a best practice list with regards to professional training courses relating to antimicrobial awareness
  • Enhanced cooperation between the FDA in America, and the European Medicines Agency, in relation to approaches that will facilitate antimicrobial drug development and regulation

A vote of the full European Parliament on the report is scheduled to take place on 10 December.

Own-initiative reports from the European Parliament are used as devices to put pressure on the European Commission, and its agencies, to lead action in certain areas.

Most recently published draft report (without recent amendments) here:

ENVI Committee press release here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/pressroom/content/20121105IPR54912/html/EU-must-tackle-the-rising-threat-of-microbial-resistance-says-health-committee

IMS report recommends USA develop comprehensive early warning system for medicines shortages 


The IMS Institute has published a new report with recommendations for improving the management of medicines shortages in the USA, including how to improve risk identification, demand forecasting and predictive modelling.

The report finds the drugs shortage problem in America is highly concentrated: over 80 per cent of the products are generic, and over 80 per cent are injectables. This is a small part of the overall medicines market, yet includes a number of critical drugs used in the treatment of cancer, infection, cardiovascular disease, central nervous system conditions and pain.

The report also found that a large number of suppliers were involved in the problem but most shortage drugs have only one or two sources of supply. 

The IMS Institute recommends that the FDA or industry create an Early Warning System for drug shortages. This system should include:

  • systematic risk identification,
  • continuous long-term demand forecasting,
  • creation of a supply volatility index as a sentinel of problems, and
  • comprehensive predictive modeling.

The report is of interest in advance of a future report funded by the European Commission on the medicines shortages problem in Europe, which will be published next year.

More information available here: http://www.imshealth.com/portal/site/ims/menuitem.edb2b81823f67dab41d84b903208c22a/?vgnextoid=a6fbcc0f68f73310VgnVCM100000ed152ca2RCRD


EJHP: Round-up of new drug information


A round up of new drug information, entitled Drug Watch, was published on the online first section of the EJHP this week, including

  • information about perioperative dexamethasone for treatment of children undergoing tonscillectomy,
  • benzodiazepines in older people, and
  • a suggested link between antibiotic use in children and increased risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The full article is available here: http://ejhp.bmj.com/content/early/2012/11/08/ejhpharm-2012-000248.full