European Medicines Agency Expert Patient & Consumer Training Day

Today I was invited by IDF Europe (European Diabetes Federation) to represent the organisation at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) patient and consumer training conference. The EMA's head office is located in Canary Wharf, which is an area of London known as 'The City' because it's a busy hub made up of businesses and organisations and is also the home of London's financial district. Arriving at the very modern EMA building I signed in, got my pass and made my way to the meeting rooms.


A very similar layout to the European Commission building that I visited not so long ago, I joined the other delegates that had traveled from 36 different patient representative organisations, finding my place at the IDF Europe seat. My neighbours were a Danish lady from the patient equivalent of Which? and members of the European Lung patients organisation. The concept for the day was to educate patients on the role that the EMA plays in quantifying the quality of medicines making their way on to the European market. It was also an opportunity for the EMA to provide training for us as patients and patient representatives on the initiatives that patients are involved in and what we can get involved in, within the role of medicine provision in Europe.

The chair for the day was Isabelle Moulon and the topics covered included how medicines are evaluated by the EMA, what scientific advice is considered in process of passing medicines for general use and how patients are involved in this process. We then went on to learn about the considerations involved in the leaflet information and packing that accompanies medicines when they are given to consumers. This was very interesting because we were given the breakdown of the information that needs to be included in medicine labelling and were told about the addition of QR codes to publications. QR codes are a relatively new way of scanning an image that resembles a square bar-code that you capture with your phone. The code is then recognised by the internet and can take you to the corresponding website. Adding QR codes to medicine labels is a good way of offering patients additional information relating to the medicine that they plan to take. But obviously should not be a replacement for actually reading the medicine's label.

We then received some training on using the EMA website, which for patients can be utilised to find out more about specific medicines and also information and education on topics such as patient safety, also reports associated with different medicines and treatments. Another topic that was covered and that I enjoyed learning about was pharmacovigilance. A new topic to me, this concerned the probability surrounding how a patient reacts to a medicine if at all and what happens within the process, should they have a reaction. Although it is a very small minority of the general population that does have an adverse reaction to medicines as they have been so stringently tested. My time at the European Medicines Agency was both an educational and interesting experience and I hope to work with organisation again in the future.


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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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