‘Who drives demand for more information to patients?’

Ahead of the first Pharmaceutical Forum meeting, a think-tank report presents stakeholder positions and tables a number of questions for debate on information to patients.

In view of the first meeting of the High-Level Pharmaceutical Forum (HLPF) on 29 September 2006, Friends of Europe (FoE) has published a background report on oneof the main issues – Information to patients (ITP). The ITP working group of the Pharmaceutical Forum has been meeting since early 2006 to discuss issues related to disease information and treatment options, information required by the law and improving access to health information. 

The FoE report describes the current state of place and regulation in information to patients, which covers information on health promotion and disease prevention, medical products, treatments, services and service providers and explains the EU’s role on the matter. The report also gives an overview of the current EU-policy agenda, presents a range of stakeholder positions and puts forward a number of questions for debate. 

One of the questions raised by the report is to know whether the demand for better healthcare information in Europe is really driven by public opinion or primarily the product of healthcare elites and the pharmaceutical industry. Others relate to the type of institutional set-up the EU should adopt to ensure quality health information as well as incentives to encourage industry to participate in public/private health information partnerships. 

The first meeting of the High-Level Pharmaceutical Forum at ministerial and senior stakeholder representative level will decide on the further direction for the working groups. The first recommendations on information for patients are expected in early 2007.

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