Wednesday, December 11, 2013

As the end of 2013 approaches, what is the status of EU national rare disease plans?

As 2013 draws to a close, EU countries are busy formulating, adopting, implementing, or renewing their strategies for providing care and services to rare disease patients as urged via the Council Recommendation of 8 June 2009 on an action in the field of rare diseases.

On 22 November 2013, the United Kingdom Department of Health released the UK Strategy for Rare Diseases, targeting five key areas: Empowering those affected by rare diseases; Identifying and preventing rare diseases; Diagnosis and early intervention; Coordination of care; and Research. The strategy presents a blueprint allowing the four UK countries (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) to create and harmonise their plans, which are due to be published at the end of February 2014. In parallel with the launch of the UK Rare Diseases Strategy, a Rare Diseases Translational Research Collaboration (TRC) is being established in the UK, with a four-year investment of £20 million.

In the Netherlands, the Ministry of Health adopted the final version of the Dutch National Plan for Rare Diseases on 10 October 2013. Stakeholders gathered in mid-November for a EUROPLAN National Conference appropriately entitled “And Now?”, featuring results-oriented workshops on areas of the Dutch plan that require further clarification, as well as existing bottlenecks. The event focused on the main areas of the national plan, including: Implementation; European cooperation; Diagnosis and research; Quality of life; Strengthening the patients’ voice; Centres of Expertise; and Access to medicines.

The European Project for Rare Diseases National Plans Development (EUROPLAN), through the EUCERD Joint Action, helps countries define their rare disease priorities and undertake the process of elaborating a national strategy involving all relevant stakeholders. The EURORDIS National Rare Disease Policy website section and the EUROPLAN website contain documents - including content guidelines, national conference details, consultation results, concept papers, draft strategies, and published plans - from over two-thirds of the 28 EU Member States in response to the Council Recommendation, and more are expected in coming months. The European Commission is due to issue a report in early 2014 on the status of the implementation of the Council Recommendation based on a survey of EU Member States.

It is too soon to assess the quality of the policy measures and actions taken through the national rare disease plans as well as to have an informed opinion on the robustness of the budgetary approach embedded into these plans for their full impact and sustainability. However, we can already praise the overall dynamic which is real and well-coordinated across Europe. We are moving toward an integrated EU-national strategy, comprehensive from research to care, focused on a few essential building blocks such as information, centres of expertise, registries, and access to medicines,” declares Yann Le Cam, Chief Executive of EURORDIS and Vice-Chair of the EU Committee of Experts on Rare Diseases. “In coming years, the Committee of Experts on Rare Diseases, involving all EU Member States and observer countries, will play a leading role hand-in-hand with the European Commission to pursue efforts in the right direction. And EURORDIS will be vigilant and supportive to make sure future developments address patients’ and families’ needs.”

One welcome bonus of the European Union call and momentum to develop national strategies on rare diseases is that its message has spread beyond the European Union with countries in Europe such as Georgia, Norway, Serbia and Russia, and countries around the world such as Australia, Brazil, and Canada, drafting strategies responding to the needs of their people living with a rare disease.
For more information, you can also refer to the most recent version (July 2013) of the excellent annual EUCERD Reports on the State of the Art of Rare Diseases Activities in Europe.

Louise Taylor, Communications and Development Writer, EURORDIS


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Antilope gives guidance to further eHealth interoperability in Europe - Guidance documents now available

ANTILOPE drives eHealth interoperability in Europe and beyond. Between 2013 and 2015 key national and international organisations will work together to select and define eHealth standards and specifications. They will create, validate and disseminate a common approach for testing and certification of eHealth solutions and services in Europe.  Read more

Today the EU-funded Antilope project released guidance documents and educational material to further eHealth interoperability in Europe. The documents build on the European Commission’seHealth Interoperability Framework Study released in July 2013, and are intended for national, regional or project based deployments. They offer guidance and definitions including 

(1) a set of clinical use cases, 
(2) a quality management approach for eHealth solutions, 
(3) an overview of available testing tools, and 
(4) a suggested approach to quality-label or to certify eHealth solutions. The documents are available for download at

Our project and our documents offer a roadmap towards European eHealth interoperability, while respecting where we are today, where international standards and profiles exist alongside national realities and legacies,” says Ib Johansen from Medcom, coordinator of the Antilope project. “We will now take these documents to the European regions and Member States for discussion and feedback.”

The Antilope project is about the need for an interoperability framework in which national, regional and local deployments converge as much as possible, while taking into account local, regional and national specificities,” says Benoît Abeloos, Project Officer at the European Commission’s DG Connect. “We wish the project good success, and call on national and international stakeholders to become engaged.”

Over the next twelve months the Antilope project will organise at least ten regional workshops all over Europe. During these workshops the guidance documents will be shared and discussed with local and regional stakeholders and national and international experts. The workshops will serve to improve awareness and possible adoption, while the discussions will feed back into the final guidance documents to be released in December 2014.

The first regional workshop will take place on 21 January 2014 in Odense, Denmark, primarily for Nordic and Baltic countries.  The second workshop will be held 20 February 2014 in Bratislava, Slovak Republic.  Although all events will be by invitation only, the project calls on all interested parties to register their interest on the project website


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Use of medication has risen dramatically in OECD countries

The use of medication in highly developed countries is on the rise. Across the 34 OECD countries, the average use of antidepressants increased between 2000 and 2011 from 35 to 56 daily doses per 1,000 inhabitants. This was stated in the OECD report "Health at a Glance" published in Paris.

In none of the countries did the use of antidepressants decrease over the past years. The highest consumption was registered in Iceland - here doctors prescribed antidepressants to more than every tenth inhabitant. In Great Britain, the OECD attributes the rising consumption to the financial crisis. "These extensions have raised concerns about the appropriateness of prescriptions", the report stated. Antidepressants are prescribed more frequently for milder cases, such as anxiety and social phobias, and in general, treatments are more intensive than before.

The prescription rate for medications against elevated blood sugar levels was similar to that for antidepressants. Here, the OECD average amounts to 60 doses daily, and the highest rate was registered in Finland with 84 daily doses. The increase was attributed to the spread of obesity.

Over the past 40 years, life expectancy across all OECD countries has increased significantly and has now reached an average of more than 80 across the entire region. Among the 65 year-olds, a woman may, on average, expect to live another 20,9 years and a man another 17.6 years.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

eHealth Forum 2014 : Athens, May 12-14

The Greek Presidency of the EU Council drives the eHealth Agenda forward focusing on the implementation of innovative services for better patient care and wellness. It’s about reforming healthcare services delivery and maximizing health and economic benefits for society.


eHealth Forum 2014 brings together the High-Level Conference on eHealth and Technologies for Active and Healthy Ageing, associated events and Exhibition, the eHealth Network Meeting of senior policy makers and state secretaries, the 4th EU-US eHealth Marketplace and more, aspiring to become a true forum for the exchange of experience, mutual support and good practices.

Towards efficient healthcare, social wellbeing and growth opportunities


eHealth Forum 2014 aims to inspire for eHealth solutions leading to functional reforms of healthcare systems, enabling access to better care and quality of life. At the same time eHealth Forum 2014 will emphasize on the importance of deploying innovative eHealth services for growth opportunities and job creation. 

European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing and Reference Sites


eHealth is the backbone for the provision of patient-centric, high quality services to all, especially the elderly and those with chronic diseases. The pillar of eHealth Forum 2014 is the progress achieved in addressing the challenge of ageing through joining forces to advance innovation. The Action Groups and Reference Sites of EIP on AHA will share the progress of their deliverables and discuss next steps towards concrete solutions for a healthier ageing population, one of the most prominent challenges of the social care systems.

4th EU-US Marketplace & Cooperation Assembly


The goal of the Marketplace is to create new business relationships, research, innovation and collaborations leading to innovative health improvements and economic development, in the framework of the EU-US MoU on Cooperation Surrounding Health Related Information and Communication Technologies.

Innovative Healthcare throughout the Ecosystem: Progress through Action


eHealth Forum 2014 offers the opportunity to bring together the international actors and stakeholders by investing in multi-sector partnerships and eHealth ecosystems.

Challenges: eHealth as an enabler for change and sustainability of healthcare systems


The effective use of innovative technologies in the health sector is a big challenge and at the same time an opportunity towards an efficient and sustainable healthcare system. The eHealth Forum 2014 aims at demonstrating that investing in Health IT is the most cost-effective solution for managing healthcare systems.

We look forward to welcoming you in Athens so please note the dates: May 12-14.

Related publications


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Methodological guidelines for stability studies of hospital pharmaceutical preparations

Drug compounding in hospital pharmacies allows the specific needs of hospitalised patients, needs that are not always satisfied by the pharmaceutical industry, to be met. In recent years, the biggest development in this field has been a move towards a rationalisation of that activity, ensuring the clinical efficiency of these medicinal preparations whilst improving their quality. The rationalised development of that activity in hospital pharmacies should be further enhanced in the future by the implementation of risk analysis approaches designed to eliminate drug-related iatrogenia.

In this context, the question of the stability of compounded medications remains a major preoccupation for pharmacists. The present work seeks to answer this concern by adopting an approach that is both didactic and pragmatic. This first opus is the fruit of an extensive collaboration in the form of a joint work group coordinated by Valérie Sautou and bringing together French and Swiss hospital and university hospital practitioners from two learned societies (SFPC and GERPAC), bringing a wealth of experience and skills to bear on the issue of the stability of sterile and non-sterile solutions. Basing their work on international benchmarks, the work group sought to adapt their methodology to focus specifically on the hospital environment, developing a genuinely useful tool for the management of stability studies. To this end, a complementary computer program has been created to offer users concrete assistance with the interpretation of their results. The other great advantage of this work is that it offers a new critical perspective on the existing literature dealing with stability studies.

This work will serve as a valuable tool for drug compounding in hospitals, contributing to the broader objective of optimising quality and making patient care ever safer.

We hope you will use this new tool without moderation! Sylvie Crauste-Manciet (President of GERPAC) - Marie-Claude Saux (President of the SFPC)

Download the Methodological guidelines for stability studies from HERE.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

11th Future Internet Assembly

The 11th Future Internet Assembly will take place from 18 to 20 March 2014 in Athens, Greece.

The event will be held under the auspices of the forthcoming Greek Presidency of the European Union, co-organised and supported by the European Commission.

FIA Athens 2014 will focus on reshaping the Future Internet infrastructure for innovation.

The FIA Steering Committee launches an open call to select up to 9 FIA working sessions within the scope of the conference, seeking proposals that cover aspects related to:
  • The new Internet technological landscape based on network/cloud integration through Software Defined Networking (SDN),  Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), and innovative software and services that enable application innovation;
  • The contribution of  the EU National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) developments in the SDN/NFV domain;
  • The role of SDN/NFV in i) building Internet applications of major impact (e.g., social networks, open data, big data analysis, etc.) with virtual services capabilities; ii) enabling  the reduction in resources used (energy efficiency, reduction of raw-materials, etc....); iii) fostering the emergence of open platforms to create downstream markets for third party developers;
  • The EU Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs) and how they are positioned relative to these developments  and relevant requirements towards demonstration and test-beds in Europe/globally.
In particular, the FIA Steering Committee is keen to receive proposals from industry experts, academia and research institutes. The proposed sessions should follow these criteria:
  • Contain new and forward-looking ideas;
  • Feature a diverse array of presenters and experiences;
  • Introduce visionary ideas and practices which will inspire audience;
  • Promote cross cutting approaches and technologies to attract stakeholders and entrepreneurs;
  • Deliver best practices & creative approaches towards research and technological innovations;
  • Stimulate and provoke discussion.
You can submit your working session proposals via a dedicated online tool following the template available by Friday, 25th October 2013.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

European Telemedicine Conference - A map of telemedicine that works

The first annual European Telemedicine Conference (ETC) combines the efforts of several leading European Healthcare Organisations into one powerful event.

In 2013, the ETC incorporates the annual Scottish Centre for Telemedicine and Telecare Conference with the UPMC International Telemedicine Conference. This collaboration also draws on the strengths of its other partners to produce a vibrant local event with rich international appeal.
  • Join leading healthcare delivery organisations, governmental leaders, clinicians, researchers and university faculty from around the world to: Understand how telemedicine is working to deliver improved care
  • Evaluate clinical applications of telemedicine 
  • Assess the sustainability of projects 
  • Learn how research will be translated into real improvements in the delivery of healthcare 
  • What infrastructure is needed to enable cost-effective telehealth delivery
Q. What are the Conference dates?
A. 29-30 October 2013

Q. Where will the Conference be held?
A. The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh 54 George Street Edinburgh EH2 2LR Scotland

Q. Is there an age limit at the European Telemedicine Conference?
A. Yes, all registrants (including spouses or guests) must be 18 years of age or older to attend the European Telemedicine Conference.

Q. Do I need to be registered for the Conference before I can book my hotel at the European Telemedicine Conference rate?
A. Yes. Special rates at the George Hotel are available for the European Telemedicine Conference delegates. You can benefit from the special offer and book your accommodation via the Conference registration website.

 Q. How is the weather in Edinburgh in October?
A. In October, the average temperature is 10°C.

Q. What kind of currency do I use?
A. The pound sterling (GBP) is the official currency of Scotland. An online converter is available at

Q. Do I need a visa to enter Scotland?
A. All Nationals from the EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein do not require a visa to enter. You need to hold a valid passport. For more information on visa requirements for the United Kingdom please consult the UK Border Agency website:

Q. What is the attire for the Conference?
A. Business

In 2014, Italy will host the ETC, and in 2015, in Denmark.

Friday, October 04, 2013

European Medicines Agency (ΕΜΑ): the concept of medicines under additional monitoring

A black triangle will start appearing on product information this autumn to encourage reporting of suspected adverse reactions

The European Medicines Agency has published a video and a factsheet in all official European Union (EU) languages today explaining the meaning of the black triangle, which is now starting to appear in the product information of certain authorised medicines in the EU. The black triangle has recently been introduced in the EU as part of the concept of medicines under additional monitoring and is an important deliverable of the new European pharmacovigilance legislation.
Medicines under additional monitoring are being monitored particularly closely by European regulatory authorities. Their package leaflet and the information for healthcare professionals, called the summary of product characteristics (SmPC), have to display an inverted black triangle together with a short sentence that reads:

This medicinal product is subject to additional monitoring.

The black triangle will start appearing on the product information of medicines that are subject to additional monitoring more and more over the next few months, including in the printed package leaflet that comes with the medicine.
All medicines on the EU market are carefully monitored. If a medicine is labelled with the inverted black triangle, it does not mean that it is unsafe; the purpose of the symbol is to actively encourage healthcare professionals and patients to report any suspected adverse reactions observed with the medicine, either because the medicine is new to the market or because there is a limitation to the data available on its safety.
Regulatory authorities continuously collect information to monitor real-life experience with medicines. Reporting suspected adverse reactions is an important way to gather more information on medicines on the market. In a real-life setting, where a larger and more diverse group of patients use the medicines, less common side effects may be observed. Regulatory authorities look at all reports of adverse reactions, alongside all the information they already have, to make sure that the benefits of medicines remain greater than their risks and to take any necessary action to optimise safe and effective use.

Additional monitoring status is always applied to a medicine in the following cases:
  • it contains a new active substance authorised in the EU after 1 January 2011;
  • it is a biological medicine, such as a vaccine or a medicine derived from plasma (blood), authorised in the EU after 1 January 2011;
  • it has been given a conditional approval (where the company that markets the medicine must provide more data about it) or approved under exceptional circumstances (where there are specific reasons why the company cannot provide a comprehensive set of data);
  • the company that markets the medicine is required to carry out additional studies, for instance, to provide more data on long-term use of the medicine or on a rare side effect seen during clinical trials.
Other medicines can also be placed under additional monitoring, based on a decision by the Agency's Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC).
The list of medicines under additional monitoring is reviewed every month by the PRAC and published on the Agency’s website, where additional information on additional monitoring can also be found in all EU languages.




Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Just 3 weeks left to tell Europe about your Hospital Pharmacy research and projects

The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) would like to remind hospital pharmacists across Europe that there are just 3 weeks remaining to submit abstract posters for display at the 19th Congress of the EAHP in Barcelona (26-28 March 2014).

The Congress of the EAHP annually brings together over 3,500 individuals working in the hospital pharmacy sector across Europe’s 47 countries, and indeed beyond, with an increasingly global attendance. Alongside keynote speakers, workshops and symposiums, a key attraction is always the abstract poster walk. The display presents to attending hospital pharmacists quick overviews of projects and research initiatives across a plethora of scientific areas including, but not limited to: the use of new technology; pharmacotherapy; the development of clinical pharmacy services; inter-professional communication; and, patient safety orientated initiatives. During the Congress a panel of judges assess all successfully submitted posters and announce prizes for the best abstracts at the closing ceremony.

Encouraging colleague hospital pharmacists to profile their work and submit an abstract before the 15 October deadline, Prof. Dr. Cees Neef, EAHP Director of Education, Science and Research, said:

“Whilst our Congress Programme grows ever larger, a much valued mainstay for attendees has always been the poster abstract walk. It’s a chance to learn from projects and research already conducted in an individual’s area of interest. It also gives an opportunity to meet the people behind the poster and exchange ideas and experience directly. Finally of course, it’s a much-needed occasion for hospital pharmacists to tell the world all about they have been doing!

The EAHP Scientific Committee looks forward to a wide range of submissions. Its always a pleasure to find out what our profession in Europe has been learning and implementing, and where we’ve been making the difference for patient outcomes.”
For further information contact info@eahp.eu00 322 741 6835 or 00 44 7895 292 076 
1. EAHP is an association of national organisations representing hospital pharmacists at European and international levels. More information about the EAHP and its history here.

2. The 19th Congress of the EAHP is to be held in Barcelona from 26-28 March 2014 at the Centre de Convencions Internacional de Barcelona. More information here.

3. The theme of the 19th Congress is ‘the innovative hospital pharmacist: imagination, skills and organisation’. More information here.

4. The deadline for submitting abstracts is Tuesday 15th October. More information about the submission process is here.

5. The best abstracts/posters – with regards to aspects like originality, scientific quality and practical applicability – will be awarded with 3 prizes amounting EURO 750, EURO 500 and EURO 250. Poster nominees will be requested to give an oral presentation on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 or Thursday 27 March 2014. More information here.

6. The topics covered by the first prize posters in the past three years have been, in reverse chronological order:
  • pharmacists' optimisation of the medication process during admission to hospital: a multicentre, randomised, controlled trial (2013). More information here.
  • genetic risk factors for type 2 diabetes mellitus and response to sulfonylurea treatment (2012). More information here.
  • development of a web-based antimicrobial resource to improve antimicrobial prescribing (2011). More information here.
7. The Congress programme also includes a wide range of keynote speakers, seminars, workshops and satellite events. Further information here.

8. The deadline for securing discount on the registration fee for the Congress is 1 December 2013. More information here.



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Digital Agenda Assembly 2013 – Reports and videos

The Digital Agenda Assembly 2013 was co-organised with the Irish Presidency of the EU Council and took place on 19th & 20th June in Dublin Castle.

It was an opportunity to go through the themes of the Digital Agenda for Europe review, assess the progress and challenges in implementation and seek ways to improve delivery. We aimed at having an innovative, creative and interactive Assembly to showcase examples from across the EU and collect visions and experiences of policy makers, industry, research organisations, NGOs, SMEs, regulators, Member States representatives.

The main programme concept was the digital lifecycle with an emphasis on digital skills, entrepreneurship and growth. The workshops focused on ICT skills and jobs, public services for the citizens, research & innovation and technology enablers, trust & security, entrepreneurship and the digital single market.

The event hosted seven thematic workshops (on 19th June) and a plenary session (on 20th June).
The entire event was filmed, web-streamed, recorded and will be posted on the internet. Photographs were also taken and will be published soon.
There are still lots of ways to follow-up the Digital Agenda Assembly 2013:


Digital Agenta for Europe

Monday, August 26, 2013

Introduction to the IHE North American (NA) Connectathon

The IHE NA Connectathon is a cross-vendor, live, supervised, and structured testing event with over 150 participating vendors and 600+ engineers and IT architects. 

All these organizations and IT experts converge on-site in Chicago, IL, for one full week of interoperability testing and problem resolution.

Participants test their products against multiple vendors using real-world clinical scenarios contained in IHE's Integration Profiles.

The NA Connectathon 2014 is January 13-18, 2013.

Visit to learn more.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Register today to attend HPE Live - fully accredited by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Faculty

Join us at Hospital Pharmacy Europe Live in Birmingham, UK on Tuesday 29 October.


HPE live will bring together healthcare professionals like you from all over Europe to learn about the latest developments in clinical practice as well as giving you the opportunity to network with hundreds of your peers.

HPE Live will take place on Tuesday 29 October at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel, England.

The event is fully accredited by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Faculty. All attendees will receive a certificate of attendance.

What does RPS Faculty accreditation say about HPE Live?
  • The knowledge that the event will contribute to raising standards in pharmacy, medicines management and patient care 
  • The assurance that the content will support healthcare professionals in advancing their knowledge, skills and experience 
  • The guarantee that the opportunity represents a benchmark of high professionalism 
  • The demonstration of high-quality accredited resources 
  • The confidence that the programme supports professional development needs 
To register for HPE Live, please click here.

HPE Live's expert panel of speakers will include:

Miss Alison Ewing, Clinical Director, Pharmacy & Therapies, Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, UK
Professor Irene Kraemer, Director of Pharmacy, Medical Centre of Johannes Gutenberg, University of Mainz, Germany
Dr Linda Murdoch, Lead Clinician in Paediatric Intensive Care, PICU St George’s Hospital, London, UK
Professor Arthur Lipman, Department of Pharmacotherapy, College of Pharmacy, University of Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, USA

To see all the speakers, please visit here.

To register for free, please simply click here to fill in the online registration form.

For further enquiries, please call 44 (0) 207 214 0504.


Friday, August 16, 2013

EAHP and UZ Leuven to host high level meeting on reducing medication error in hospitals

The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) has announced a high-level meeting to take place at the University Hospitals Leuven (UZ Leuven) focused on how to reduce medication errors in the hospital sector. Specifically, it will focus on how bedside scanning of medicines at the point of administration can become a widespread reality to increase patient safety.
The technology of scanning a medicine at the patient’s bedside, prior to administration, has been demonstrated to reduce rates of medication error by as much as 40%. Yet, although common place in countries such as the USA, the practice in Europe remains the exception rather than the rule. The event will consider why this is the case, and what can be done to overcome identified implementation obstacles.

The one-day event, to be held on Monday 14 October, will include:

• presentation of how bedside scanning at UZ Leuven reduces the possibility of medication error occurring at the point of administration;
• guided visits to hospital wards to see the technology in operation;
• presentations on the industrial, regulatory and international contexts to the issue; and,
• workshops to gain the perspectives and considered opinions of a variety of impacted stakeholders.

Speaking about the event, Thomas De Rijdt, Assistant Director at UZ Leuven’s Department of Pharmacy, said:

“Since introducing bedside scanning of medication in our hospital we have observed an increase in patient safety by further preventing medication errors. In addition we can ensure traceability of drugs. However our success here in Leuven is not something we wish to keep a secret from the rest of Europe. When we know something works, we want to share it and see the benefits enjoyed elsewhere. That is why we are working with the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists to hold this meeting aimed at identifying and enacting solutions to the known obstacles to bedside scanning’s wider introduction.”

Commenting on the event, EAHP President Dr Roberto Frontini said:

“Nowadays, we are used to seeing all manner of consumer products individually bar coded: from bananas to biscuits, from chocolates to CDs. Yet, we have still not achieved medicines bar coded to the individual pill or vial. This holds back the introduction of bedside scanning, and through this event I hope we can shine a light on what the obstacles are, and how they can be overcome.
We encourage all stakeholders with an interest in this topic to participate in this event and play a part in achieving a potential major advance in the reduction of medication error.”

For further information contact, 00 322 741 6835 or 00 44 7895 292 076


1. EAHP is an association of national organisations representing hospital pharmacists at European and international levels. More information about the EAHP and its history

2. UZ Leuven (Universitair ziekenhuis Leuven) is an academic hospital in the Belgian city of Leuven associated with the KU Leuven. It consists of five campuses: Gasthuisberg, Lubbeek, Pellenberg, Sint-Pieter and Sint-Rafaël. The hospital has 1995 beds and over 8800 employees. More information here.

3. A study by Poon EG et al. Effect of Bar-Code Technology on the Safety of Medication Administration. N Eng J Med 2010;362:1698-707,has suggested the use of bar codes on medicines up to the single unit (thereby enabling bedside scanning of the medicine at the point of administration) can help to reduce medication error rates by 41.4%. More information here.

4. In recognition of the patient safety case, and the effect on reducing errors, it has been practise in the USA since 2006 that all pharmaceuticals products sold to hospitals must now bear a bar code on the smallest unit of use — the size dispensed to the patient. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimate that since introducing this requirement, some hospitals have reduced medication error rates by as much as 85% and in a study conducted at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, evidence suggested that the use of such bedside verification technology enabled 5.7 million doses of medication to be administered to patients without medication errors. More information here.

5. Stakeholders with an interest in the subject of avoiding medication error in hospitals that would like to attend the unique one-day event, should contact

6. Further information about the event is available here.

See the Agenda HERE

Bar Coding Brochure HERE


EAHP press release, 16 August 2013

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Registration opens for unique Congress on Hospital Pharmacy innovation

The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) is delighted to announce that registration is now open for its 19th Congress which takes as its focus the subject of innovation.
With the context of the global economic crisis, and its consequences in the form of shrinking national health budgets, the question must be asked as to how successful service innovation can be achieved in such circumstances.
Keynote speakers throughout the three day Congress,
to be held in Barcelona from Wednesday 26th March to Friday 28th March 2014, will investigate models of innovation, as well as central factors and elements of the innovation process. The Congress is designed to give attendees new insights into how to find and implement innovative solutions in a resource-constrained environment. A key message of the Congress is that innovation can still progress in an era of shortage: through imagination, skills and organisation.

Speaking about the Congress theme, Prof. Dr. Kees Neef, EAHP Director of Education, Science and Research said:

“It seems that every hospital pharmacist I speak to these days has the same workplace challenge: how to maintain continuous improvement of service to patients and other health professionals at a time when hospital budgets grow tighter. A large part of that answer lies in innovation which is why we wanted to focus our next scientific Congress explicitly on this theme.
With the programme of speakers and timely chosen workshops and seminars I have no doubt that our Congress can provide any hospital pharmacist in attendance with powerful new ideas, models and concepts to take back to their home country to invigorate and empower their own service improvement efforts.”
EAHP is also delighted to announce the continuation of the ground-breaking
Synergy Satellite Programme, accredited high level seminars supported by an educational grant from Bayer Pharma AG.

Jennie De Greef, EAHP Chief Operating Officer, said:

The support of our industry partners remains invaluable in terms of enabling both the breadth and precision of EAHP’s educational activities. The successful introduction of the Synergy Satellite Programme at last year’s Congress was an important addition in this regard and I’m delighted it will be going from strength to strength in the year ahead.”

For further information contact or telephone 00 322 741 6835 / 00 44 7895 292 076
1.      EAHP is an association of national organisations representing hospital pharmacists at European and international levels. More information about the EAHP and its history here.
2.      More information about the EAHP Congress is available here.
3.      The programme for the Congress is available here.
4.      To benefit from the Congress early registration fee, registrations should be made BEFORE 1 DECEMBER 2013. Further information here.
5.      Information on the Synergy Satellite programme is available here.
6.      The 2014 Synergy Satellite event is titled: “Anticoagulants – a matter of heart! Towards a bright future?” and will be held from 1130 to 1300 on Wednesday 26th March 2014 in the Centre de Convencions Internacional de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.  

Further information here.



Thursday, July 04, 2013

The 5 Most Expensive Drugs in the World

According to research conducted by Forbes, the five most expensive drugs in the world each cost upwards of $300,000 annually.


Developed by Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALXN  ) , Soliris is the most expensive drug in the world, at an average annual cost of $409,500. Soliris itself treats a rare blood disorder called paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, in which patients' red blood cells break down faster than they're supposed to. The reason is a missing gene known as PIG-A, whose function is to allow proteins to stick to red blood cells and protect them from substances in the blood that would otherwise cause them to break down. Without this protein present, anemia and other serious complications can develop. There are only about 8,000 known cases of PNH in the United States.

Soliris added another indication in 2011 to treat atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome, or aHUS, a rare and life-threatening genetic disease that can adversely affect the kidneys, heart, and brain. It's estimated there are only 300 known cases in the United States.


Elaprase, which is made by Shire (NASDAQ: SHPG  ) , runs at a bargain-basement annual cost of "just" $375,000 when compared to Soliris. Elaprase is designed to improve walking function in patients with Hunter Syndrome, a disorder whereby an enzyme the body needs to break down complex molecules is missing or not functioning properly. Without this enzyme present or working properly, these molecules can build up in the brain and other tissues, causing permanent damage. There are an estimated 2,000 known cases worldwide.


Coming in third with an annual cost of $365,000 is BioMarin Pharmaceutical's  (NASDAQ: BMRN  ) Naglazyme. This drug is an enzyme replacement therapy for patients with mucopolysaccharidosis VI, also thankfully abbreviated for us as MPS VI. The disease afflicts approximately 1,100 people worldwide and is characterized by an enlargement of tissues and organs that can result in inflammation and permanent scarring.


Acquired by ViroPharma (NASDAQ: VPHM  ) when it purchased Lev Pharmaceuticals in 2008, Cinryze slides in as the fourth-most expensive annual drug, costing insurers and patients $350,000. Cinryze was developed to treat a condition known as hereditary angioedema, a rare genetic disorder characterized by recurrent bouts of severe swelling that can affect the face, limbs, abdomen, and airway. There are about 6,000 cases of HAE in the United States. 


Not to be forgotten as the fifth-most expensive drug in the world is Sanofi's  (NYSE: SNY  )  Myozyme, which can be yours for the low, low price of $300,000 per year. Myozyme is designed to treat Pompe disease, a disorder characterized by a mutation to the GAA enzyme that subsequently allows glycogen to build up in the body -- specifically affecting the heart and skeletal muscles. There are only 900 known cases of Pompe disease around the globe.


The Motley Fool

Sunday, June 30, 2013

One-day introduction to EORTC trials, Brussels, Belgium

This course is dedicated to newly participating members (investigators, data managers, research nurses, etc.), and industry representatives.

The purpose of this introductory course is to give general information on the strategies and principles for collaboration with EORTC. Additionally, participants will receive information about the functioning of the EORTC and about Trials methodology, investigator / site quality requirements and control, patient safety management, adequate data collection and pitfalls for reliable data.

Furthermore you will be shown our on-line registration /randomization process and remote data capture system.

Course website:

2013 Education Office Program available at:



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

International Pharmacy SDO’s synchronize in the Hague

Three international pharmacy workgroups of the standards developing organizations ISO TC215 WG6, IHE pharmacy and HL7 pharmacy have aligned their work items on Monday, June 10, at Nictiz in the Hague.

Participants from eight countries were present at this joint meeting. This meeting was organized and sponsored by Nictiz.

The purpose of this meeting was not only to exchange information on the projects of each workgroup, but also to set out a path to strengthen their collaboration. In order to achieve this, it is important that the activities of the organizations are aligned regularly. In particular, because every organization has a specific task.

In a nutshell the tasks of the organizations are: HL7 creates standards, IHE describes how to use the standards and ISO enforces the standards. New and current topics of the ISO TC 215 workgroup 6 were discussed: requirements like medicinal product dictionaries, data elements and structures for identification of a magistral compound and requirements for electronic prescriptions.

The main topic of the day was unilateral agreement on the glossary and terms. HL7 Pharmacy published the definitions of medication profile of a patient on their Wiki. An agreed definition of the content of the profile is essential for understanding each other. Each country can then apply restrictions to the universal medication profile for their own requirements.

The IHE Pharmacy working group showed their Community Medication Prescription and Dispense profile. It describes the process of prescription, validation and dispense of medication in the community domain. The basis for IHE Pharmacy is the whitepaper Hospital Pharmacy and Community Pharmacy, Use Cases and Standards.

The organizations were content with the results of the meeting and have decided to continue this activity as a recurring event. A quote from a participant was: ‘To move forward, it is better to have more people talking at the same time on the same topics’.

For any further information, please contact Michael Tan (tan at nictiz dot nl).


Friday, June 07, 2013

EJHP Podcasts from the 18th Congress of the EAHP

The European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy (EJHP) recorded a number of podcast interviews with key speakers and seminar facilitators at the 18th Congress of the EAHP, held in Paris from 13th to 15th March 2013.

The theme of the Congress was "Improving patient outcomes: a shared responsibility".

You can listen freely to all nine podcasts by clicking the 'Find out more' button or select some of the highlights from the list below. If you missed the Congress, then it's definitely worth catching up with all the latest in hospital pharmacy.

Podcasts: Highlights from Speakers and seminar participants

Related to the Congress, editors and staff from EJHP spoke to the following speakers and seminar participants in order to gain further insights to the topics and themes presented:

Dr Fiona Reynolds in relation to her keynote speech on the establishment and use of Multi-Disciplinary Teams (MDT) in hospitals

Jorn Herrstedt, professor in clinical oncology, Odense University Hospital, Denmark and João Oliveira, medical director, Instituto Portugues de Oncologia, Lisbon about team challenges in cancer care

David Gerrett of the UK NHS Commissioning Board and Joanna Correa West, medicines management nurse, Birmingham Children's Hospital about inter-professional learning

Jean-Hughes Dalle, professor in pediatrics, Robert-Debré Hospital, Paris, Julie Rouprêt-Serzec, clinical pharmacist, Robert-Debré Hospital, and Anthony Sinclair, director of pharmacy, Birmingham Children's Hospital about patient safety and medicines across the interface

Want to see one of your photos on the front cover of EJHP?

Do you see yourself as the next Annie Liebovitz or David Bailey? We're looking for photographs that represent the role of the modern pharmacist, is it people, pills, robots or something completely different?

Images can be in any standard format, but need to have a minimum resolution of 300 dpi and you would need to own the copyright or have permission for the image to be used.

Submit your photos for consideration to:

Invitation to contribute to EJHP

We'd love to hear from you if you would like to contribute to the journal.

EJHP is a great medium for your work and publication can help you in your career. We know that writing a paper can be a daunting task and we are here to help. If you are not sure if you have a suitable topic, the journal Editor in Chief , Phil Wiffen, is always happy to discuss potential publications and give support to first time authors.

Phil Wiffen, Pain Research Unit, Churchill Hospital, Old Road, Oxford OX3 7LE, UK;
phil.wiffen at dcn dot ox dot ac dot uk