Meeting Europe’s medical needs now and in the future

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Friends of Europe Meeting Europe’s medical needs now and in the future 2023


‘Unmet medical need’ (UMN) is both a strategic issue for Europe and a deeply personal one for the individuals and families affected. In a patient-centred healthcare system, research and development (R&D) should be driven by patients’ needs. As demand for care rises due to an ageing population in Europe, stakeholders must prioritise patients’ access to prevention, screening and treatments.

The European Commission’s pharmaceutical legislation revision aims to reward innovative drugs that cater to patients suffering from serious diseases with no existing treatment options. The pharmaceutical sector remains concerned about the potential complications and perceived stigmatisation that could arise from this categorisation.

On the contrary, policymakers view this categorisation as a means to align pharmaceutical research with the public’s actual medical needs, rather than market-driven desires. By granting drugs a UMN label, developers would receive extended market exclusivity, incentivising them to address conditions with limited therapeutic options. This shift is prompted by the recognition that the current system has fallen short, leaving many diseases untreated or undertreated.

As Europe seeks to balance innovation and social needs, this dinner debate will bring together some 30 senior stakeholders to chart a path towards a more patient-centric and innovation-driven pharmaceutical landscape, ensuring that no patient is left behind, while simultaneously reducing the persisting inequities between member states in access to innovative medicines and treatments.

This event will take place in Brussels. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook, and join the #FoEDebate!

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Registration of participants and welcome drinks
Meeting Europe’s medical needs now and in the future
Expand Meeting Europe’s medical needs now and in the future

Questions include:

  • How can public research funding be used more strategically to address UMNs?
  • What are the best incentives to direct pharmaceutical research spending towards areas of societal and patient needs?
  • What are the potential consequences and advantages of introducing the concept of unmet medical needs in the European pharmaceutical market, including its effects on patient access to innovative treatments, and how do different European countries approach this issue in their healthcare systems?
  • In the context of addressing unmet medical needs, how can we ensure that no patient is left behind in the quest for better healthcare?
End of policymakers’ dinner debate


Nathalie Moll

Director-General of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA)

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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.

Photo of Tamsin Rose
Tamsin Rose


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Tamsin Rose is a facilitator who was until recently a senior fellow for health 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 the Secretary General of the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), and providing strategic advice for health groups on how to engage successfully with the EU.

Florian Schmidt
Florian Schmidt

Deputy Head of Unit, medicines (policy, authorisation and monitoring) at European Commission Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE)

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Florian Schmidt is Deputy Head of Unit for medicines (policy, authorisation and monitoring) at the European Commission Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE). Schmidt has been involved in the implementation of the pharmacovigilance legislation and followed the paediatric regulation. He also worked on the development of the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe was part of the team preparing the reform of the EU pharmaceutical legislation. Schmidt is a lawyer by training and worked in several Directorates-General before joining DG SANTE.

Vlad Voiculescu
Vlad Voiculescu

Social entrepreneur, patient advocate, former Romanian minister for health and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Vlad Voiculescu

Vlad is a Romanian politician, health policy expert and patient advocate, who until recently has served as the minister of health. After pursuing a career in finance, Vlad became active in public service, serving as the Romanian Finance Minister’s chief of staff before becoming the minister of health in the Dacian Cioloș government. Since 2008, Vlad has been involved in patient advocacy, both at the national and European level. He is the founder of an international network of volunteers that helped over 2,500 cancer patients receive essential medicines that were missing in Romania, a story that featured in the HBO documentary The Network’. Vlad is also the Co-Founder of MagiCAMP, which seeks to provide support to children diagnosed with cancer and other serious illnesses. For this work, the European Parliament awarded Vlad its ‘European Citizen’s Prize.’



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