This is the monthly newsletter on public affairs sent by ESTRO to national societies
This is the ESTRO Public Affairs newsletter: a monitoring service offered by ESTRO to national societies of the radiation oncology area to keep up-to-date with oncopolicy issues.
This issue of the newsletter is dedicated to Latest European developments 
Focus of the Month
Latest European developments 
Happening Across Europe at a Glance

Other News
  • Check out the revamped Medical Devices section on the EC's website
  • The European Parliament calls on the Commission to ramp up its efforts to tackle disruptors and carcinogens 
  • No new regulation on electronic cigarettes
  • Digital technologies are the new stronghold of the WHO
  • Calls for Proposals 
Latest European developments

On 15 April in Bucharest, the Romanian EU presidency addressed access to medicines and cross-border health care in an informal meeting of the Ministries of Health. Focus was placed on delivering patient access and to improve awareness to of rights to get reimbursement for treatment in EU countries.

Meantime cross-border activities can be observed happening across the European Union. Out 28 member states, 22 countries have signed up for the initiative to send e-prescriptions across border and to receive patient summaries (implemented in a second stage). At the national level, it will successively be employed. Five countries have already adopted the exchange of ePrescriptions since January 2019: Estonia, Finland, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, and Croatia last to join in April.  

Following the steps of France, Belgium has recently adopted legislation on the right for cancer patients to be forgotten. The law states that cancer survivors do not have to declare their cancer 10 years after the end of active treatment, with 5 years applicable if they had cancer under the age of 18. This is expected to have marked impact on the life of previous patients. For instance, it will no longer be necessary to mention this when applying for certain insurances. Belgium is now the second European country that has adopted this legislation aimed at protecting cancer survivors.

Elections at the EU level
The European elections are fast approaching the 23-26 May.  Following the results of a recent poll, the party projected to win is the European Peoples’ Party (EPP), led by Manfred Weber. He is the lead candidate to take over the from Jean-Claude Juncker. He called for the support of a European masterplan against cancer  at the official launch of his presidency campaign: “by pooling our talents, knowledge and resources, we can truly join all our forces in the fight against cancer.”  On the contrary Weber’s statements on a European cancer action plan are not yet embedded within the EPP general manifesto.

Some active candidates are in the field of oncology from different parties are: Germany’s Peter Liese (EPP) who has been a strong advocate for Health Technology Assessment (HTA) matters, Italy’s Elena Gentile who has specifically worked on peadiatric cancers, Slovenia’s Alojz Peterle, the president of the informal MEP Against Cancer group. A prominent candidate, Lieve Wierinck, who is a strong advocate for radiotherapy and member of the MEPs Interest group on Patient Access to healthcare, is standing for re-election.
"We believe it should be possible to cure more youngsters and to cure them better while working on delivering zero deaths and zero late effects"

- Professor Pamela Kearns, President of the European Society for Peadiatric Oncology (SIOP Europe)

BELGIUM >>  new legislation on patients' right to be forgotten. Read more here

IRELAND >> with regards to ensuring access to medicines Ireland, together with France have the slowest success rate.  Patients wait for an average of 486 days to access new drugs Read more here

NORTHERN IRELAND >> is doing better with a recent decision of the national health department to extend HPV vaccines Read more here

The UK >> BREXIT delayed until 31 October 31, 2019

The delay of Brexit initiated again the worries about medicine shortages in case of a no-deal Brexit. It was for this reason that European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen sought to reassure patients they will still have access to their medicines and medical devices after a no-deal Brexit
Read more here


Check out the revamped Medical Devices section on the European Commission's Website

In February 2019, the European Commission launched a portal that should ease the transition of the two new regulations on medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devices. Now, Timo Pesonen, Director General of the European Commission's Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG Grow), gives an interview and expresses his point of view on a few crucial aspects of the new Regulation. 

Read more

The European Parliament calls on the Commission to ramp up its efforts to tackle disruptors and carcinogens   

MEPs have launched a clear message to the European Commission: we cannot accept that endocrine disrupting substances are found in food packaging, clothing, cosmetics, children's toys and crops grown with certain pesticides. Inaction at EU level risks leading to a fragmented and widely diversified situation in the EU, where different national standards apply and where the exposure to EDCs varies from one country to another.
No new regulation on electronic cigarettes

E-cigarette manufacturers want to be able to promote these products as “less harmful” and are urging the EU Commission to regulate vaping products as distinct from tobacco products. Current campaigns, such as #VapingisNOTtobacco, now actually rely on public health arguments to make the case that electronic cigarettes are “less harmful” than traditional ones. “E-cigarettes may be less harmful, according to some reports, but they’re still “poison”, said Arūnas Vinčiūnas, head of cabinet of EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis.

Read more
Digital technologies are the new stronghold of the World Health Organisation (WHO)  

Through its 10 recommendations on the use of digital technologies, the WHO recommends telemedicine to allow people living in remote locations to access health services and to strengthen health systems, as a complement to face-to-face-interactions. The newly-published guidelines also highlight some of the overarching research gaps which still prevent health workers and telemedicine from improving access to healthcare.

Read more

Calls for Proposals 
If you have any questions  please contact Gabriella Axelsson
ESTRO Public Affairs Project Manager
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