EPSA Policy Newsletter 2020-2021 4th Edition/1st edition 2021/2022

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4th Edition 2020 - 2021


Contents Welcoming words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Intern News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mental health and the pandemic: living, caring, acting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SIOP Europe Virtual Annual Meeting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "Being young and responsible in times of crisis – How can partnerships help empower young adults to make the right choices?" News from Brussels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . European Innovation Scoreboard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Commission to invest €14.7 billion from Horizon Europe for a more healthy, green and digital Europe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Belgian Court orders AstraZeneca to deliver vaccine doses to the EU . . . . . . . .

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News from our Members . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


National News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controversies on telemedicine overuse in Poland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Valuing the Performance of Hospitalar Pharmacists Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A new mission for the Community Pharmacist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . German pharmacists are taking on various new tasks during the COVID-19-pandemic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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News from Brussels Dear readers, It is our pleaser to present you the 4th edition of the Policy Newsletter. We expect to bring you the latest news from the EPSA's interns, uploads on Brussels political subjects well as national news from EPSA's Member Associations and the advocacy initiatives those Associations have developed on their local level. Our sincere thanks to all the EPSA Team Members and Advocacy Platform Representatives who contributed to this edition. We hope this to be one more fresh edition and that captivates your attention towards advocacy and policy issues. We wish you a good reading and hopefully, we will be able to discuss the next edition in person. Yours in EPSA,

Fatumata Seck Policy Affairs Coordinator 2021/2022


Piotr Nawrocki Policy Affairs Coordinator 2020/2021


Intern News Mental health and the pandemic: living, caring, acting! On 11 May 2021, I attended the online event held by the European Commission titled "Mental health and the pandemic: living, caring, acting!". The event was primarily about the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on citizens' mental health over the last year. John F. Ryan (Director of Public Health, DG SANTE) chaired the event, alongside other high level speakers such as Stella Kyriakides (Commissioner for Health and Food Safety) Sara Cerdas (MEP, Co-chair Coalition for Mental Health and Well-Being) and Hans Kluge (Director, WHO Regional Office for Europe). The most interesting session was about mental health for young people. Martina Darmanin (President of the European Students' Union) gave an insight into the mental ill-health that students are facing before and during COVID-19. She thanked EPSA for our latest survey report on Mental Health and our collaboration over the past year. Chloe Lebbos (VP EA elect) also joined me at this event, so it was a good opportunity to liaise about EPSA's visibility at online events. - Jess McNamara, Vice President of European Affairs



SIOP Europe Virtual Annual Meeting – 28-30 April 2021 At the end of April, I attended The SIOP Europe Virtual Annual Meeting. The event brought together diverse stakeholders involved in paediatric oncology with the aim of enhancing collaborations to improve the quality of life of survivors and increase the cure rates. Participants had the chance to discuss the important areas of Unmet Medical Needs and the outcomes of the clinical research carried out in Europe. The event was a great opportunity to gain new insights into the regulatory framework of the paediatric oncology landscape from dedicated Professionals and Stakeholders. Moreover, EPSA was offered the opportunity to host a booth which participants could visit to find out more about our projects.

"Being young and responsible in times of crisis. How can partnerships help empower young adults to make the right choices?" – 24th of June 2021 EURACTIV together with Erasmus Student Network, organized a live conference in Brussels focusing on how young adults can demonstrate their responsibility in the current times and how the different stakeholders in society can support one another to ensure we are all responsible once life goes back to normal. Amongst the speakers, there were representatives from the European Commission (Themis Christophidou, Director-General, DG EAC) and the European Parliament (Nicolae Ștefănuță, MEP, Renew Europe). Furthermore, there were also present representatives from other student associations. Therefore this event was a great networking opportunity that allowed us to strengthen the collaborations and exchange practices. - Andreea Iordache, Educational Affairs Coordinator



News from Brussels European Innovation Scoreboard The European Commission has released the European Innovation Scoreboard 2021 providing a comparative analysis of innovation performance in the European Union countries. With its help, the strengths and weaknesses of national innovation systems can be assessed. Thus European Innovation Scoreboard assists countries with identifying areas that should be addressed. It has been shown that Europe's innovation performance keeps improving across the European Union, on average, by 12.5% since 2014. Based on their scores the EU countries were divided into four performance groups: Emerging Innovators, Moderate Innovators, Strong Innovators and Innovation Leaders.



Commission to invest €14.7 billion from Horizon Europe for a more healthy, green and digital Europe Horizon Europe is the EU’s 2021-2027 key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion.The European Commission defined the terms of the main Horizon’s Europe work Programme, outlining the objectives for the areas receiving an investment of €14.7 billion for the 2021-2022 period. This investment will support European researchers through fellowships, training and exchanges. It is also expected to help accelerate the European green and digital transition, contribute to a sustainable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and to EU resilience against future crises, which includes topics that aim to modernise health systems and provide for research capacities, in particular for vaccine development.

Belgian Court orders AstraZeneca to deliver vaccine doses to the EU The Court of First Instance of Brussels ordered AstraZeneca to urgently deliver 50 million doses of vaccines by 27 September 2021, respecting a mandatory schedule. This decision came in the sequence of the case brought by the European Commission and the 27 EU Member States due to the non-compliance of AstraZeneca’s terms of the contract. Furthermore, the court also defined that if the timeline is not accomplished, AstraZeneca will have to pay a penalty of 10 euros per dose not delivered.



News from our Members Pharmaceutical services, education and interprofessional advocacy regarding socio-economic fairness The BPhD e. V. is currently working on three new policy papers. With the first policy paper, the BPhD is positioning itself regarding new German legislation about additional services at pharmacies (Vor-Ort-Apothekenstärkungsgesetz VOASG). The quality of the pharmaceutical services and to what extent those should be practiced is discussed in the position paper. Some of the suggested pharmaceutical services are vaccine administration, mini diagnostics and assisting measures for better adherence. In addition, updates to the pharmaceutical curriculum have been proposed to ensure the quality of the suggested services.

The second position paper calls for new conditions during the practical year/pharmaceutical internship. It underlines the importance of dedicated studying time, adequate payment and some renewals concerning the time frame of classes and final examination during the practical year. With the third position paper the BPhD advocates equal rights for everyone who wants to apply for a study program in the healthcare field in Germany. In the present state, a qualification test is required in order to be offered a place in a medicinal program. The bvmd (medicine students´ association), bdzm (dentistry students´ association), bvvd (veterinary medicine students´ association) and the BPhD request, as a collective, a fair chance for every applicant to pass the qualification test, therefore the incurred costs for taking the test to be covered by the federal states, and a possibility to repeat the test as well.

Pharmaceutical Students' Internship Normative

APEF is working on carrying out a normative statement with the aim to ensure that all Portuguese pharmaceutical students have a better experience with their curricular internships. With the help of its member organisations, APEF intends to create guidelines and norms to be implemented by pharmacies that will be receiving students as interns. This will give them the best learning elements whilst promoting the greatest success in their Marie-Madeleine Fürbeth (EPSA LS) internship experience. Therefore, this norm aims to ensure that all the essential skills for pharmaceutical intervention will be covered and developed during curricular internships, allowing students to become future professionals of excellence. APEF has already collected inputs from several organisations of the Portuguese pharmaceutical sector, including the Portuguese Pharmaceutical Society (OF), the National Association of Pharmacies (ANF), and the Portuguese Association of Young Pharmacists (APJF), which also envision the optimization of curricula opportunities. Furthermore, APEF will be responsible not only for creating this norm but also for its monitoring, and ensuring that it is being implemented across the country. Helena Pires



Thus, through its Endowment Fund, the idea of the creation of punctual emergency aids to financially support the students in distress was born. The purpose of these grants is to help pharmacy students to follow their university course with access to primary necessities despite the financial difficulties that may disrupt it. It can therefore help to finance food, hygiene products, digital tools, accommodation, etc. Until today, 357 pharmacy students have received this aid. A total of 50,100 euros has been gathered by partners, such as by the national college of pharmacists.

ANEPF facing the Mental Health Issues In 2019, ANEPF conducted its first study on the well-being of french pharmacy students, of which the findings were clear: 75 % of them suffer from mental health issues linked to their studies. Since then, the Covid-19 pandemic has made it worse as isolation and school dropout appeared. Therefore it was important to assess the impact of the Covid-19 health crisis on pharmacy students, in order to set up concrete actions. ANEPF has therefore set up a second survey on the well-being of students, in collaboration with the universities’ student elects, and their local associations, which was conducted from January 17th to February 9th, 2021. Questions about mental health, studies, insecurity, access to care and internships have been asked to 2978 students, and the answers were worse than expected. The findings are alarming: 71,7 % of pharmacy students find their studies to become a source of stress. To help pharmacy students, ANEPF proposed the development of more efficient e-learning tools, the development of continuous assessment in order to reduce the stress linked to exams and to provide more support, for example via tutoring, or through perpetuation of €1 meals for all students. Faced with the alarming results of the student precariousness shown by ANEPF’s previous surveys in 2014 and 2018, as well as its amplification by the current crisis, ANEPF decided t o a c t .




The 26th of December was the François DIB, VP European Affairs; day when the vaccination against Théo FAVARD, VP International COVID-19 has officially started in Affairs Slovakia. Since then, the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic has started the Vaccination Campaign „The Vaccina is Freedom“, with the aim to increase public trust in COVID-19 vaccination and to fight against misinformation on social media. As future health care professionals, we felt the need to help motivate people to get vaccinated. Within propagation of the vaccination, SPSA created a profile picture frame on Facebook which states #damsaockovat (#let'sgetvaccinated). The initiative has been very successful and the frame has already been used by 1,500 users of Facebook so far. Besides the frame, we created a video campaign focused on supporting students of our faculty to get vaccinated. The main goal of the campaign was to start the student's life without any restrictions like it was before the pandemics as soon as possible. Michaela Čellárová | LS, Sarah Andrusová


National News Controversies on telemedicine overuse in Poland Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe, telemedicine has become one of the quickest developing medical services. Its undoubted advantages, like easier access to a healthcare provider and avoiding, transportation matched up with the need for the limitation of face-to-face meetings during the pandemic. However, sometimes the use of telemedicine cannot resolve patients’ problems. Some people, especially the elderly, find it difficult to adapt to this type of service, some just need a physical examination. Unfortunately, some physicians didn’t fulfill the needs of those patients, using telemedicine not as a supplementary treatment, but as a new, convenient way of earning money. Increasing controversies on telemedicine contributed to the decision of Adam Niedzielski – Polish Minister of Health – not to extend contracts (expiring on June 30th) with 70 Primary Health Care facilities, in which part of telecommunications exceeded 90% of all services. “There are clinics where telephone advice has almost replaced consultations in a traditional, direct form. (...) The medical staff is vaccinated, it's time to return to normal functioning.” – said the Minister. At the same time, the National Health Fund (NFZ) announced that the patients from the closing clinics will not be left alone. Regional branches of NFZ, where telemedicine overuse took place, prepared lists of facilities that will provide patients with necessary medical assistance from July 1st. Hopefully, these regulations will contribute to accelerated recovery of the healthcare system in Poland. Dominik Wiszniewski, President of PPSA Bialystok EUROPEAN PHARMACEUTICAL STUDENTS’ ASSOCIATION


Valuing the Performance of Hospitalar Pharmacists Study A study named ‘Valuing the Performance of Hospitalar Pharmacists” was carried out by NOVA SBE, School of Business & Economics. In this study, the Portuguese Pharmaceutical Society (OF), invited several hospital pharmacists to report their daily work, where it was noticeable that their functions involve a wide range of crucial responsibilities such as distribution of medicines of inpatients and outpatients, improving pharmacotechnical specifications, selection, management and acquisition of medicines, administration activities or participation on technical committees, showing the importance of the work of pharmacists in this environment. Several physicians were also interviewed and claimed that they recognize the importance of hospital pharmacists who are crucial in the provision of healthcare. Therefore, they should become increasingly part of the clinical multidisciplinary teams, integrating and developing a more active role in other hospital areas. Thus, this study demonstrates the functions' plurality and specificity when assumed by hospital pharmacists. These professionals contribute enormously to the medication errors' reduction and as a result to the patient outcomes' improvement, wherefore it is a priority to expand the intervention of hospital pharmacists in other areas to enhance the quality of healthcare in the clinical environment. Helena Pires - APEF Portugal

A new mission for the Community Pharmacist In France, following recent events and the need for more patient support in healthcare, a recent decree dated 28 May 2021 presented a new role allocated to the pharmacists, now called the “correspondent pharmacist”. The purpose is to give a little more independence to pharmacists and to simplify treatment renewal for patients with chronic diseases. Indeed, the “correspondent pharmacist” has the right to "periodically renew chronic treatments and adjust, if necessary, their dosage". For that, the prescription must contain a specific statement authorizing the renewal by the correspondent pharmacist for part or all of the prescribed treatments as well as, if necessary, a statement authorizing the adjustment of the dosage. However, the total duration of the prescription, including the pharmacist's renewal, may not exceed twelve months. This decree is an important step forward for the profession and the continuity of care for patients undergoing chronic treatment. François DIB, VP European Affairs; Théo FAVARD, VP International Affairs



German pharmacists are taking on various new tasks during the COVID-19-pandemic From December 2020 to March 2021 large amounts of FFP2 masks were distributed in community pharmacies to the elderly and more vulnerable population. Furthermore, a lot of pharmacies offer SARS-CoV-2 rapid testing and are thereby an important part of the German COVID-testing strategy. Vaccinated people can already obtain a digital vaccination certificate at community pharmacies since the 14th of June 2021. Currently, there is a great demand for this service. These new tasks are expanding the German pharmacists´ field of competence and help them to establish a better and more trusting relationship with the patients. Unfortunately, the German ministry of health has already decided to reduce the remuneration for all three new services community pharmacies provide. Due to the frustration of payment shortages and frequent policy changes, German pharmacists state that they have “lost their trust in Berlin”, where politicians decide about the draft legislation. This could be reflected by the result of the upcoming federal election (“Bundestagswahl”) in September and have an impact on the potential reelection of health minister Jens Spahn. Roman Pratzka (BPhD e.V. representative for health policy)



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