Archive for July, 2016

French Patient Federation asks national health authority to reassess therapy designed to prevent failure of kidney transplant

france cissThrough the use of the “right to alert” provided in the French reform law on the modernization of the healthcare system introduced by French Health Minister Marisol Touraine on the 26th of January 2016, the French Collectif Interassociatif sur la Santé (CISS), representing 44 patients associations in France, has asked the national health authority HAS to reassess the anti-rejection drug for kidney transplant Belatacept.

The initiative aims to attempt integrating the treatment on the list of expensive hospital medicines which are paid upfront by the French health insurance fund. At present, Belatacept is not covered by the list, which leads many hospitals not to provide it, impeding around 8000 patients to have access to the treatment, according to the CISS.

More information here.

UK doctors call for opt-out organ donation system in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland

UK docTaking stock of the successful results of the new presumed consent scheme for organ donation implemented in Wales, doctors in the UK are calling on the Government to switch to an opt-out organ donation system as well.

During a meeting at the British Medical Association on the 22nd of June, doctors’ representatives passed a motion urging their colleagues to advocate policy-makers in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland to implement a system similar to the Welsh scheme, in order to address the shortage of organs for transplant available in the UK, with 7000 patients on waiting lists for organ donation.

More information here.

First statistics on new Welsh presumed consent organ donation scheme show impact

organ doThe Welsh have benefited from an increase in organ donations during the first six months (December 2015-June 2016) after the introduction of a new scheme for organ donation in the country, under which people are deemed to consent to organ donation unless they opt-out.

The Welsh Government has announced that 60 organ transplantations were performed since the entry into force of the new policy, with the consent of ten out of the 31 organ donors being deemed.

Introduced with the aim to increase the number of organs available for life-saving transplants in order to address the shortage of organs for transplant in the country, the national measure is showing promising results so far. Welsh Cabinet secretary for health, wellbeing and sport Vaughan Gething particularly noted the Government’s expectation for the system to bring forward a radical change in consent for organ donation in Wales.

A campaign will be initiated over the summer to improve awareness-raising on organ donation and the scheme in place in the country, as well as for organ donors to share their experiences with their families.

More information here.

Belgian Health Ministry to support 16 pilot projects on chronic diseases across the country

integrated careThe Belgian Government has selected 16 pilot projects on integrated healthcare for people with chronic diseases in Belgium to be state supported, announced the Health Ministry on the 16th of June. The initiative follows a call for related projects launched by the Government in February 2016 and the presentation of the Guide “Integrated care for better health” presented in February 2016; which provides for a new vision on integrated care for patients suffering from chronic diseases, with a “triple aim”:

– Better quality of life for patients and their relatives

– Longer healthy lives for the population

– More effective use of existing means

Structured around an interdisciplinary approach, all 16 projects aim at strengthening collaboration between health care providers, home care providers, patients and family caregivers associations and social welfare organisations which stakeholders from the private sector as well as from local authorities and mutual companies will be able to join.

The first projects are expected to start in March 2017.

More information here.

Belgian Health Ministry signs agreement with food industry federation for calories reduction in food and drinks by the end of 2017

saltOn the 13th of June, a voluntary agreement (‘the Balanced Food Covenant’) was endorsed by the Belgian Health Ministry, the food industry federation Fevia and the federation for trade and services Comeos, to reduce the calories intake in food in the country before the end of 2017. The measure includes reducing sugar and fat contents in processed food products available in supermarkets, as well as in restaurants and catering outlets.

Specific targets have been set for the different categories of products:

A 5% sugar reduction in soft drinks by the end of 2017 and by 10% by 2020.

A 3% added sugars reduction in dairy products by the end of 2017, and a 8% reduction by 2020.

A 4% sugar reduction and an additional 5% fibres content in breakfast cereals by 2020.

Under the agreed commitments, manufacturers will also improve the nutritional quality of the food produced whenever possible, by additing fibre or eliminating saturated fats.

The agreement covers reductions in portion sizes and includes leveraging awareness-raising and health education programmes targeting the population, in view of enabling consumers to make informed dietary choices and have healthier and better balanced diets.

The Balanced Food Covenant comes into the scope of a long-term plan of the Belgian Government initiated by Health Minister Maggie De Block, which targets an average 10% reduction in sugar contained in soft drinks by 2020.

Upon signature of the agreement, Cosmos CEO Dominique Michel highlighted that solving the obesity problem requires not only adjusting the formulation of food products but also promoting healthy lifestyles, which are a “combination of factors, including a balanced diet and adequate exercise”.

More information here.