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MEPs rally round 'bagong pag-asa' ng isinapersonal na gamot

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March13_2013_20712441_DrDrawingMolecule_PersonalizedMedBioP2718276218Ang lumalagong kahalagahan ng isinapersonal na gamot (PM) sa kalsada patungo sa isang malusog na Europa ay itinapon sa matalim na ginhawa sa pagpapatakbo sa halalan ng Europa noong Mayo.

Cross-party and pan-European MEPs are putting their weight behind PM, which by utilizing new science and technology, achieving better communication, improving patients’ access to clinical trials and building more cross-disciplinary collaboration, among other factors, aims to deliver “the right treatment to the right patient at the right time”.

Kamakailan lamang ay inilunsad ng European Alliance for Personalized Medicine (EAPM) ang 'Limang mga hakbang patungo sa isang malusog na Europa' (STEPs) na kampanya sa Brussels European Parliament at magpapatuloy ang kampanya sa pagpapatakbo sa halalan.

At kahit na bago ang ilunsad na kaganapan, maraming mga MEP ang nagbigay ng kanilang suporta sa PM. Kabilang dito sina Marion Harkin, Peter Liese, dating Komisyoner ng Europa at ngayon ay MEP Danuta Huebner, Sean Kelly at Petru Luhan.

Ang mga ito ay sinamahan nina Maria da Graca Carvalho, Kristiina Ojuland, Karin Kadenbach, Thomas Ulmer, Sirpa Pietikainen at Ria Oomen Ruijten.

Ang pamamaga sa mga ranggo ay sina Antonya Parvanova, Vittorio Prodi, Mirouslav Ouzky, Marisa Matias, Anna Rosbach, Anja Weisgerber at Sidonia Jedrzejewska.

On a general note, Peter Liese said: “I think PM is a big opportunity, a big challenge. We need to make it available for as many patients as possible; as soon as possible. Therefore we need a European regulatory environment. I very much support the idea of  the European Commission making PM a priority in the coming years as it really helps patients to be treated better.”

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He added: “We need EU-wide standards for the quality of PM, with regards to the tests but also the drugs, as it’s very important that the patients can rely on what is offered on the market.”

Mirouslav Ouzky pointed out an oft-debated problem, saying: “We have a right to seek treatment in any member state but, on a practical level, sometimes it’s very difficult because it lies close to the social and healthcare systems in each state. The big question is ‘Who will pay?’ We have different prices of medical treatment in different countries so it’s necessary to establish the tools for possible medical treatment across borders.”

'Sino ang magbabayad', sa katunayan? Sa isang Europa na maraming nagtatalo ay walang kasalukuyang cash at mapagkukunan, tila may mga posibleng solusyon. Idinagdag ni Ouzky na, sa krisis sa pananalapi na ito at sa sobrang pangangalaga sa kalusugan, ang mga pakikipagtulungan sa buong Europa upang i-cut ang pagkopya sa pananaliksik ay makatipid ng malaking pera.

 

Idinagdag ni Karin Kadenbach: 'Halos lahat ng mga estado ng EU ay pinutol ang kanilang mga badyet ngunit napakahalaga na ang pinakamahusay na pag-access, ang pinakamahusay na teknolohiya at ang pinakamahusay na gamot ay nananatiling magagamit sa bawat European. Kaya kailangan nating itaas ang kamalayan sa kung ano ang magagamit at kung paano natin maiiwasan ang mga gastos, sa isang banda, ngunit walang negatibong nakakaapekto sa mga pasyente sa kabilang banda. PM ay maaaring maging isang paraan upang gawin ito. '

And Marisa Matias said: “In times of crisis it is even more important to finance health because we are facing even bigger struggles when it comes to access to medicines. We should guarantee that there are no cuts in these difficult times. It is also important to increase coordination between Member States.”

 

E-health and all it potentially offers could be another vital component. Said Danuta Huebner: “To really make progress in the quality of our lives we have to invest more in e-health and the access to health services. We must take the challenge of an ageing European population seriously and they can live longer and better lives only if we facilitate their access to healthcare through e-health. That’s the priority of the future European regional policy.

“But for this to happen,’ she added, ‘we also have to invest more in research in the area of health and I hope that Horizon 2020 – and the link between that and regional policy – will bring progress much faster.”

Maria da Graca Carvalho also highlighted the EU’s Horizon 2020 initiative, saying: “This will be fundamental for innovative treatments and personalised medicine. Not only because there will be funding available but also because it includes strategies of coordination, putting data together and putting research groups together to create a critical mass to drive innovation.”

Information to patients through properly trained and up-to-speed professionals is another issue.  Karin Kadenbach said: “In Europe there are big inequalities in access to health and health institutions. Part of this is through health illiteracy. The patients do not know enough but it is also the health professionals who need to be trained and informed. We have to raise awareness that there are new technologies, new medicines. It’s very important that the patients and the professionals know about these.”

Anja Weisgerber has similar views, saying: “It’s important to have a well-qualified doctor or nurse to inform the patient concerning access to good treatments. We must improve health training and education. I think we can improve education in the health sector at a European level.”

Sirpa Pietikainen calls herself “a strong supporter of PM”, because “it gives a new hope and a new quality to the patients of today and those of the future”. She added: “A combination of a better regulatory framework at the European level and better practices of reimbursement by public health sectors in the member states are two key issues that we have to tackle to really ensure that patients can afford, and have access to, personalised medicine when they need it.”

‘Access all areas’, then. But, as patients, what are we really entitled to? Kristiina Ojuland is crystal clear: “Medical aid is part of human rights in Europe and to make it more practical and accessible to our citizens I believe very strongly that we need e-health and e-medicine in broader terms. This means that every patient is an owner of his or her health data and gives concrete permission for it to be stored.

“The patient will have a personalised code so, if he or she is sick away from home in Strasbourg, or Lisbon, Paris or Budapest they can go to the local doctor and give permission to access their health data.”

Sean Kelly said: “At the end of the day, every person is unique, every person is distinctive. The more we can individualise the treatment the more relevant it will be to the patient and the better the chance of recovery.

“Europe is about equality and we have to ensure that there’s equal access to treatment for all citizens, facilitated within their own state or in another. Ultimately, we have to take care of all 500 million citizens across the EU. We cannot have discrimination – especially in matters of life and death as these issues usually are.”

When it comes to inequalities, Sidonia Jedrzejewska had this to say: “The chances to get cured and the chances to avoid illness depend very much on where you live or who you are. In eastern Europe it is much more probable that you won’t get cured of a serious illness – mortality rates are much higher – and this is something we cannot accept in modern society. But a lot can be done at the European level to enable equal access to health for everybody.”

Antonya Parvanova added: “No discrimination and no inequalities is dependent upon the level of efficiency in the use of public resources. I believe there is a concensus in Europe that we have to find a way to deal with inequality and discuss it at the highest possible level.”

And the ‘highest possible level’ means Europe’s lawmakers. Sean Kelly summed up the general feeling among many MEPs, saying: “There are huge challenges but these need to be met to enable a healthier and more prosperous community.

“That is really our aim, our target…and our responsibility as politicians.”

Ang may-akda, si Tony Mallett, ay isang mamamahayag na freelance na batay sa Brussels. [protektado ng email]

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