EAHP EU Monitor 27 November 2012

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

You can subscribe to receive the EAHP EU Monitor by email here.

Just 3 days left to benefit from the early bird registration fee for the 18th Annual Congress of the EAHP!

Hospital pharmacists are reminded that there are just 3 days remaining in which to benefit from the 20% discount on the registration fee for the 18th Annual Congress of the EAHP, taking place in the Palais des Congrès, Paris, from 13-15 March 2013. Register before 1 December to be sure not to miss this special rate!

The theme of the 18th Congress is "Improving patient outcomes: a shared responsibility" covering major goals of the hospital pharmacy profession such as the commitment to the patient and the importance of collaboration with other health professionals.

Keynote speeches will address:

  • the hospital pharmacist’s impact on patient care;
  • an introduction to multi-disciplinary teams; and,
  • the prevention of critical incidents – an issue for different disciplines

Seminars on therapeutic topics include:

  • a multidisciplinary approach to nutrition;
  • ethics and risks in antibiotic prophylaxis;
  • the practical use of hospital pharmacy standards;
  • team challenges in cancer: from cytotoxics to supportive care; and,
  • innovative approaches to wound care.

Sessions on operational matters will include:

  • the selection and implementation of technology in the hospital pharmacy;
  • medication reconciliation: the ultimate team work;
  • medicines across the interface;
  • challenges in vigilance; and,
  • working together to improve the prescription process.

Events exploring more conceptual matters will include:

  • accreditation and quality management;
  • inter-professional learning; and
  • trends in communication.

The 18th Congress will also see the launch of a brand new type of learning event: the Synergy Satellite programme. These ACPE accredited symposiums will provide opportunities for hospital pharmacists to learn about the most recent developments in medicines and obtain verified continuing education points. More information here

For more information about the Congress and its scientific programme, please visit the Congress section of the EAHP website

The registration section is here.

EMA publishes plan on medicines shortages

Responding to the growing, and European-wide, problem of medicines shortages, the European Medicines Agency has published a plan to help the European medicines regulatory network cooperate in resolving some of the causal factors involved.

The paper, published by the Agency on 26th November,:

  • summarises the lessons the Agency has learned from previous crises where it played a supporting or coordinating role;
  • provides a short and medium-term plan to help the European medicines regulatory network prevent, mitigate and manage shortages of important medicines; and,
  • identifies the globalisation of manufacturing and supply chains as a major contributing factor to the occurrence of supply shortages.

The paper acknowledges that, whilst control and supervision of the national pharmaceutical markets remain a national responsibility, Member States may experience difficulties in acting in a purely national way when faced with a pan-European crisis. Therefore, EMA considers it has a role in co-ordinating the development and communication of appropriate risk management measures arising from unexpected shortages in supply.

Some of the public safety concerns identified by EMA in relation to medicines shortages include:

  • defective medicines being left on the market to prevent shortages of life saving medicines; and,
  • the restricted ability of regulators to ensure GMP compliance at a production site due to the impact such measures could have in exacerbating shortage problems.

Amongst the causal factors identified by EMA in the paper include:

  • globalization of manufacture extending supply chains which increases the risk of supply disruption;
  • the location of manufacturing centres in areas “that have uncertain political and regulatory systems and which may be prone to natural disaster”.

The paper criticizes industry risk management in relation to shortages as being too reactive rather than proactive, and also considers that more discussion is required about the risks involved when monopolies in supply of medicines exist.

Accompanying the EMA paper is a list of short and medium term actions EMA intend to take forward through its own secretariat, and its national regulatory partners. These include:

  • establishing an internal catalogue of Centrally Authorised Products (CAPs) and non-CAPs requiring coordination at EU level (e.g. referrals) that have experienced product shortages to facilitate future analysis of trends and communication on shortages;
  • maintaining a public catalogue of current shortages of CAPs and medicinal products where an EU co-ordination of assessment has been undertaken;
  • developing a common understanding of the concept of “essential” medicine, and develop a decision tree to assist decision-making on what shortages should be addressed at EU level;
  • establishing and publishing an SOP for handling reports of shortages in supply of medicinal products due to quality defects and manufacturing problems; and
  • exploring if “crisis” situations arising from product supply shortages can in the future also be addressed in the context of the EU Regulatory Network Incident Management Plan.

The EMA reflection and action papers on medicines shortages is available here

EAHP passed policy on medicines shortages at its General Assembly in June 2012. More information here

PGEU, the organization representing community pharmacy in Europe, has recently also passed policy in this area.

Tonio Borg approved by European Parliament as new Health Commissioner 

Tonio Borg, Malta's candidate to replace the previous European Commissioner for Health John Dalli, has been approved by Members of the European Parliament with 386 votes in favour, 281 against and 28 abstentions.

Mr Borg's approval should now be finalised by the Council of Ministers in the coming days. He will then be able to take up his post as Commissioner for health and consumer affairs.

His election was not without controversy however, with some political groups of the European Parliament withholding their support on the basis of his previous expressed personal views on issues such as gender equality and the rights of women and homosexuals.

More information here.

EJHP: Treatment adherence and unmet needs at hospital pharmacy for the care of Spanish patients with multiple sclerosis

An article was published recently the online first section of the European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy (EJHP) about the assessment of unmet needs at hospital pharmacies and treatment adherence of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) treated with disease-modifying therapies (DMTs).

The article explores the role of the hospital pharmacist in educating MS patients in terms of treatment administration, and also assessing the degree of treatment adherence by patients. 33 pharmacists in 24 hospital pharmacies, treating 237 patients were surveyed in relation to MS management actions and unmet needs.

The study makes a number of findings in relation to aspects of MS treatment such as:

  • previous co-morbidities;
  • descriptions of treatment adherence; and,
  • unmet needs at hospital pharmacy.

The full article is available here.