Europe could get better value from the money, technology and expertise invested in healthcare, a Friends of Europe event co-organised by Celgene and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) heard on 2 May.
A lack of coordination between authorities, hospitals and insurers is holding back progress and wasting resources, said participants at the debate.
There are similar communication challenges among healthcare professionals. “Collaboration can be as cheap as an email,” said Bettina Ryll, Founder of the Melanoma Patient Network Europe and current Chair of the Patient Advocates Working Group of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO). “We have the resources,” she said.
According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), up to one-fifth of health spending is wasted on unnecessary, over-expensive or corrupt practices. The European Commission has tried to encourage more collaboration through the European Reference Networks, virtual advisory panels for complex or rare diseases.
But health systems still don’t put patients first, participants agreed.
“Part of the challenge is walking in each other’s shoes,” said Lee Heeson, President of Worldwide Markets, Inflammation & Immunology at Celgene. “We often have conflicting performance indicators or incentives within each of our relevant areas of expertise.”
The use of big data, biotech and other new technologies are key to aiding collaboration, said Nathalie Moll, Director-General of EFPIA. “What we do now is not good enough,” she said. “We have no choice but to change.”
Friends of Europe, together with Celgene and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) are taking a fresh look at an old debate, with the help of a short fictional film about an astronaut, Nozomi, who is lost in space and fighting to find her way home. The story mirrors many of the challenges we face in healthcare and is designed to help us all think differently about the seemingly unsolvable issues. Audience participation will be critical, as we seek to find solutions together.
This event is part of Friends of Europe’s Health and Wellbeing programme, which focuses on how the obstacles of vested interests and short-term political thinking can be overcome in the difficult transition to new healthcare models and systems – and how these new systems can be financed.
Cover image credits: “This is Axiom” short fiction film, commissioned by Celgene
Projection of the short 15 minutes fiction film “This is Axiom”.
The story takes place in deep space. Lost astronaut Nozomi floats, alone, fearing that she will never hear from Earth again. Until one day, a glimmer of hope flickers through the radio. The film provides a bold new way to engage in the issues we face in healthcare. This movie was produced with support from Celgene.
Healthcare systems in Europe are overstretched, struggling to meet the growing demand for care with limited and decreasing resources. The medical landscape is fragmented and complex, with multiple players and competing interests. Every day, hard choices have to be made at all levels. Policymakers decide on overall policy and funding, payers and hospital managers decide the best allocation of resources to their services, health industries have to choose the R&D opportunities to invest in, while clinicians try to provide patients with the best care possible. Stakeholders continue to operate in silos in a world where it is not easy to get a broader perspective on healthcare systems as a whole, let alone identify new alternative solutions. Yet, overcoming these barriers to health can make room for new opportunities and allow for more collaborative and imaginative thinking that can considerably improve healthcare for patients across the EU.
- What are the challenges of working in a healthcare system that is defined by constraints, whether financial, human or technical?
- How do we move from a system where everyone is operating in their silos, into a more collaborative space to create a more effective and sustainable healthcare system?
- Given the complexity and constraints of healthcare systems, how can patients and their needs be put at the centre of care?
Member of the Health and Welfare Committee, Swedish Parliament
President for Worldwide Markets, Inflammation & Immunology at Celgene
Chief Executive Officer, University Hospital Saint Luc, Belgium
Director-General of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA)
Founder of the Melanoma Patient Network Europe and current Chair of the Patient Advocates Working Group of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO)
Principal Scientific Adviser at the European Commission Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE)
Gert Van Assche
Gastroenterologist and Professor in Medicine at the University of Leuven, Belgium
Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe
Former member of the Board of the Nordic Council, Penilla Gunther currently sits within the Health and Welfare; Trade; Labour Market; and Nutrition Committees of the Swedish Parliament. She also leads the Parliamentary Network for Equal Care that she founded in 2010, where she organizes a number of seminars gathering members of Parliament to touch upon a broad range of issues in healthcare. Gunther is an active advocate for better diagnosis and prevention for patients with heart failure; fighting antimicrobial resistance as well as improving the funding processed in rare diseases.
Lee Heeson assumes the responsibility for the commercial operations for the Inflammation & Immunology franchise at Celgene, a global biopharmaceutical company focusing on the discovery, development and commercialization of products for the treatment of cancer and other severe, immune, inflammatory conditions. While Lee’s primary responsibility is to ensure the successful market launch of Celgene’s therapies in the inflammation and immunology space, Lee is keen on working collaboratively with all stakeholders on innovative solutions to overcome the challenges of our health systems and ensure that every patient has access to the right therapy at the right time. Prior to his current role, Lee has held several leadership positions in various pharmaceutical companies, working across multiple therapeutic areas and geographies, including Europe, Latin America, the United States and Japan.
A civil engineer in applied chemistry, Renaud Mazy has nearly 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Having previously worked as the Managing Director of Baxter, an American health care company, he has held the position of CEO at the Belgian University Hospital for Saint-Luc since 2011. In this role, he launched an ambitious project to revamp the hospital buildings by 2025, thus modernising the hospital, notably by implementing an integrated and computerised ‘patient journey’, which aims to better centralise the medical information of patients. With extensive skills in research, development and management, Renaud has spoken for topics such as hospitals of the future, and the role of digitalisation and artificial intelligence in the hospital sector.
Nathalie Moll leads the federation that represents the pharmaceutical industry operating in Europe. She has spent 20 years working for the biotech industry at the EU and national level in associations and corporate positions. Moll previously worked as Secretary-General of EuropaBio, which was ranked as the most effective European trade association in Brussels in 2013. In this post, she promoted a dynamic and innovative environment for the biotech industry in Europe. Moll was named one of the 15 leading women in biotech in Europe in 2017.
After losing her husband to melanoma, Bettina Ryll founded the Melanoma Patient Network Europe and developed a special interest in patient-centric clinical research, innovative trial designs and novel drug development concepts. Lately, her focus has moved to sustainable healthcare models ensuring access to innovative therapies for cancer patients and incentives for sustainable innovation. Her organisation seeks to address the problems EU Melanoma patients are facing in an independent, constructive, result-oriented and collaborative manner. Bettina believes in the enormous potential and capacity of patient networks to both educate and support patients as well as to capture data at the primary data source – the patients themselves.
Andrzej Rys has held several key positions in local and national health institutions, notably serving as the Director of the Health Department of the City of Kraków, President of the Polish Public Health Foundation and Polish Deputy Minister for Health, a role which put him on the negotiation team for Poland’s accession to the EU. He later founded and led the School of Public Health and the Centre for Innovation Technology Transfer at Jagiellonian University. In 2006, Rys joined the European Commission as the Director for Public Health and Risk Assessment and was later appointed Director for Health Systems, Medical Products and Innovation at the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, where he works on improving EU healthcare systems for citizens.
Gert Van Assche is a renowned physician, serving also as professor of medicine at the University of Leuven in Belgium and current head of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University Hospitals of Leuven. Van Assche’s primary research focuses on novel therapies in fibro genesis and mucosal immunology in the field of inflammatory bowel disease. He has extensive experience as an advisor and consultant to the health private sector industry in the gastro-intestinal field. With over 200 authored and co-authored peer-reviewed papers, Van Assche’s extensive scientific work and research has received grants and awards from across Europe, such as the Flemish Foundation for Scientific Research (FWO Vlaanderen), the Désiré Collen Research Foundation, the Royal Society of Medicine, and the Inbev-Baillet Latour Foundation.
Tamsin Rose is Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe. Having studied international relations, she has 25 years of experience working across the European continent from Ireland to Mongolia. A natural communicator, Tamsin has been a radio reporter, worked on press for the EU Delegation in Moscow and is currently a member of the external speaker team for the European Commission Directorate General for Communication, describing how the EU works and key policies to visitor groups from around the world. Since 2002 she has specialised in public health and public participation issues, serving as Secretary General of the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), and providing strategic advice for health groups on how to engage successfully with the EU.
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