Policy Newsletter Volume 3/ 20-21

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3rd Edition 2020 - 2021



WELCOMING WORDS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Intern News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 EU4Health Webinar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day & ACCELERATE Paediatric Oncology Conference. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 News from Brussels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Europe preparing for the increased threat of coronavirus variants. . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 News from our Members . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 National News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A pathway to a higher vaccine accessibility?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . APEF National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pharmacists, soon allowed to vaccinate against COVID-19? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Meet the Advocacy Representatives. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Joanna Niewińska & Karol Zakrzewski PPSA Poland. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Chloé LEBBOS ANEPF France . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Our Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14


Dear Reader, It is my pleasure to present you the 3rd edition of the Policy Newsletter of the mandate 2020/2021! The purpose of this publication is to inform the EPSA Member Associations and the EPSA Team on the developments at the European level, especially in the Brussels environment and the activity there, as well as the policy and advocacy work being developed by the EPSA Interns in Brussels (EPSA Intern News). Although meeting in person is not possible during the pandemic, our Interns in Brussels attended online events on behalf of EPSA. In this edition you can read short testimonies from Jess McNamara - EPSA’s Vice President of European Affairs and Andreea Iordache - EPSA’s Educational Affairs Coordinator. This time you can also find out more about advocacy initiatives coming from five EPSA Member Associations: BPhD Germany, FASFR Romania, APEF Portugal, ANEPF France and GPSF Greece. In this edition, you will also meet another three Advocacy Platform Representatives: Joanna Niewińska and Karol Zakrzewski from PPSA Poland and Chloé Lebbos form ANEPF France.

Last but not least, my sincere thanks go to all the EPSA Team Members and Advocacy Platform Representatives who contributed to this edition.

Piotr Nawrocki Policy Affairs Coordinator 2020/2021



Intern News EU4Health Webinar

On 22 January, three of the EPSA Interns - Jess, Josef and Andreea - attended an online event on the EU4Health Programme in participation with their internships. This webinar was hosted by European Commission’s DG SANTE. The webinar explained the EU4Health Programme’s objectives, highlighted possible actions and also mentioned funding opportunities until 2027. Participants were also able to provide input on health issues in the EU and how the EU can address them. Sandra Gallina, Director General of DG SANTE, noted that although it was a pandemic that put health at the forefront of the EU agenda, the health program isn’t just a response to the coronavirus. There were three breakout sessions attended on Public Health, Medicines, vaccines and medical devices and Health systems. Stefan Schreck, DG SANTE, led the discussion on public health, highlighting the importance of tackling non-communicable diseases. The main topics discussed included mental health, cancer, antimicrobial resistance and member state collaboration for implementing policies and best practices. This was an important event for EPSA because it emphasised our interest in the EU Health Agenda and improved EPSA’s recognition by DG SANTE with our attendance and tweets on the topic. - Jess McNamara, Vice President of European Affairs



International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day & ACCELERATE Paediatric Oncology Conference

One of the important milestones achieved by the European Commission this year was the release of the long-awaited Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan which tackles the entire disease pathway - from prevention to quality of life - of cancer patients and survivors. In the light of this important step, as well as to mark World Cancer Day, two events were organised at the beginning of February. The first one was the International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day Webinar organised by SIOPE (the European Society for Paediatric Oncology). Representatives from the European Parliament, European Commission, Industry and patient advocates presented the latest updates within the paediatric oncology field, current challenges and ways to address the unmet medical needs.

current challenges within the field.

The second event was the ACCELERATE Paediatric Oncology Conference where the most important topics tackled were the access to medicines and the recent developments in the regulatory environment. More breakout sessions were organised where participants had the chance to discuss

Both events represented a great opportunity to get new insights about the access to medicines and the regulatory framework of the paediatric oncology landscape from dedicated Professionals and Stakeholders. Moreover, it was a great chance to showcase young pharmacists’ interest in the oncology field and to interact with various important Stakeholders during breakout sessions and via Twitter. - Andreea Iordache, Educational Affairs Coordinator



News from Brussels Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan

On February 4th, the World Cancer Day, the European Commission presented Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. The Cancer Plan consists of four key action areas: prevention through actions addressing key risk factors such as tobacco use, harmful alcohol consumption, environmental pollution and hazardous substances; early detection of cancer by improving access, quality and diagnostics; diagnosis and treatment through actions to ensure better integrated and comprehensive cancer care; improving the quality of life of cancer patients and survivors, including rehabilitation, potential tumour recurrence and re-integration in the workplace. The key goals of this plan include ensuring that less than 5% of the population uses tobacco by 2040, ensuring that 90% of the EU population who qualify for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings are offered screening by 2025, and 90% of eligible patients should have access to National Comprehensive Cancer Centres linked through a new EU Network. Each year EPSA carries out the “Purple Week” Public Health Campaign that focuses on increasing cancer awareness and educates on the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer.



Europe preparing for the increased threat of coronavirus variants. On 17th February, the European Commission proposed an immediate action to prepare Europe for the increased threat of coronavirus variants. The new European bio-defence preparedness plan against COVID-19 variants called “HERA Incubator” will work with researchers, biotech companies, manufacturers and public authorities in the EU and globally to detect new variants, provide incentives to develop new and adapted vaccines, speed up the approval process for these vaccines, and ensure scaling up of manufacturing capacities. The Commission is to launch the Vaccelerate COVID-19 clinical trial network that will bring together 16 EU Member States and five associated countries including Switzerland to exchange data and progressively include children and young adults as participants in clinical trials. The EU will also provide accelerated approval for the adapted COVID-19 vaccine using the annual influenza vaccine model.



News from our Members Students’ mobilisation for mental health consideration

72% of pharmacy students have presented with a depressive state, with a range of minimal to severe symptoms. Also, 84% of students consider that the covid-19 pandemic has caused an increase in students dropping out of their studies. In response to those results, ANEPF and other National student associations have gathered for a soft mobilising inside the universities on 26th of January all around France, to ask the government for more consideration of the students’ sacrifices during the pandemic, and at the consequence of their mental health. We’re asking for an increase in the resources allocated to higher education, the means for university health services and free healthcare. Finally, we want the reopening of universities, to break isolation for students who need it. Also, ANEPF has launched a national campaign on vaccination, with infographics and short videos, answering all the mainstream questions seen on social media. This campaign aims to reach a large proportion of the public, to raise awareness on the importance of vaccination during the pandemic. Nina Groult, VP International Affairs and Chloe Lebbos, VP European Affairs


Internship changes in Germany

The German Federal Ministry of Health plans changes on the regulations on the licensing of doctors. A draft for this has been published in late 2020 and it also contains a change for pharmacy students. Until now, the “Praktisches Jahr”, an internship year that is mandatorily spent for six months at a community pharmacy and six months at a place of your choice, is not part of the university studies. Due to the change mentioned, this will no longer be the case. Therefore, pharmacists in their internship year will still be considered as students. Although this seems to be only a small adjustment, it could result in many consequences. In fact, there will be more pharmacy students, due to this change. This could result in fewer first-year students being able to enter pharmacy school, which must be prevented at all costs because Germany has had a long shortage of pharmacists. Furthermore, the quality of pharmacy studies could decrease because of a smaller amount of money available to be spent on teaching. This is due to the German legislation in the area of higher education. In addition, it is uncertain if the payment and the insurance during the internship year will be affected. At the moment we are in the fortunate position that our internship year is remunerated and


we can already pay into a pension plan. The BPhD has addressed a statement on this topic to the German Federal Ministry of Health and made it clear that these possible consequences should be paid attention to. After releasing our statement, the German Federal Ministry of Health invited us to a consultation on this topic in February. We are really looking forward to this discourse and we hope that we can present our opinions and our concerns due to this change. Roman Pratzka, BPhD Germany

Fight against fake news

In Romania, fake news has been spreading very fast lately, especially online. Together with ORS (Romanian Health Observatory), the FASFR team accepted the challenge to find this news. Furthermore, we aim to inform the population, writing texts that reveal the truth about the subject. In these pandemic times, the main topic addressed is vaccination. ORS and Misreport have joined forces to counter the effects of misinformation on COVID-19 and vaccination against it in Romania. Together with a team of specialists in medicine and pharmacy, through the “Information pill”, we check the information that goes viral on the internet through social networks and that has the potential to confuse or even misinform the Romanian public about COVID-19 and available vaccines. Among the texts already published, there are answers to common questions of the population, such as the possibility of vaccinating for people suffering from autoimmune diseases or diabetes. Miruna Bontas, LS & NIMP of FASFR Romania


Pharmacy Students COVID-19 Vaccination

APEF is part of the National Forum of Health Students (FNES), an associative structure that brings together the Portuguese associations and federations representing students of Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, Nutrition, Nursing, Psychology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and the National Youth Council (CNJ), the representative platform of youth organisations nationwide. Through these two entities, APEF has actively advocated for the inclusion of health students of risk, which include all those who are doing their curricular internships in Community Pharmacy and Hospital Pharmacy, in the priority groups of the Vaccination Plan against COVID-19. These interns are in a scenario of greater susceptibility to contamination by SARS-CoV-2 due to their close contact with the population, as well as being a potential vector of transmission in the community, and it is, therefore, crucial that they are placed on

an equal footing with the health professionals accompanying them, who are already being vaccinated. The FNES and the CNJ sent a message to the Secretary of State for Health and have made the Parliamentary Groups aware of this issue, having also requested an audience within the Parliamentary Commission for Health. Meanwhile, a press release was published, which received wide media coverage, contributing to raise awareness on this issue. Bruno Alves, Director of Policy Department


their license to practice. Apart from putting their lives on hold, pharmacy students face practical problems, like not being able to receive their degree, apply for postgraduate studies, work, etc.

COVID-19 & Studies

COVID-19 pandemic has brought many difficulties in our lives, especially in our student lives. The Pharmacy School in Greece has to deal with an unprecedented situation, where pharmacy students are unable to fulfill their studies due to the suspension of internships in community and hospital pharmacies.

GPSF is a non-union organisation so we do not participate in the student council. Instead, we encourage the initiative of these students and are willing to support it, by promoting their video on our social media and spreading the message, as we believe that more should and could be done. Tatiana Grammatikopolou, GPSF Greece

An internship of a pharmacy student at the University of Athens lasts a year, consists of 6 months at a community pharmacy, 3 months at a hospital, and the last 3 months may be either at a hospital or at a community pharmacy, and last but not least, is obligatory. Thus, there are a number of students that since last March, when the COVID crisis commenced, are unable to finish their studies. There are some students that are only left with a small period of time, for instance, less than a month, to finish with their internships, but they cannot, because every week, since November 2020 (when a new lockdown was implemented in Greece), a new governmental decision was announced for the continuation of this suspensionmeanwhile, pharmacies continue to operate. Similar problems face the other two Pharmacy Schools, in Patras and Thessaloniki as well. The student council of the University consists of party factions that have not managed to help in finding a solution to this problem. On the contrary, they are consumed in micro political conquests. Recently, a group of independent students was formed, with the aim to tackle all these problems. An idea from this group was to create a video in which pharmacy students could explain in detail the situation and the problems that have been raised, in an attempt to highlight the importance of finding an immediate solution. In this video, other problems would be mentioned too. For example, because of the situation, pharmacy graduates are not able to be examined for



National News

A pathway to a higher vaccine accessibility?

Vaccinations for COVID-19 in Poland may get more accessible than previously expected, after the Polish parliament enacted a new law enabling pharmacists to vaccinate. On the 21st of January 2021, the Act came into force, stating that pharmacists (as well as physiotherapists, school hygienists, and laboratory diagnosticians) will be allowed to directly help within the national COVID-19 vaccination program. Each willing candidate must beforehand complete a free two-step qualification course, consisting of both theory e-learning and practical classes. Training is expected to take place in late February or early March. By the end of the first week of February, over 5 thousand pharmacists around the country had already signed up. As the Chief Apothecary Council states, this number is expected to grow even further in the coming weeks. Alongside the possibility of vaccinating against COVID-19 at designated points (usually clinics and hospitals), the disputable question of them taking place directly in pharmacies has surfaced too. The Ministry of Health claims that many more legislative changes need to be done and that Polish pharmacies are not properly suited for such treatments because they don’t have separate rooms for patients. Pharmacists’ autonomies continue however their fight to develop pharmaceutical care in Poland, and the recently enacted Act about Pharmacist’s Profession gives hope for coming improvements. Michał Wosiak, Local Exchange Officer for PPSA Łódź



APEF National News The Portuguese State created a Working Group for the dispensing of hospital medication in proximity. This Group presented a report in November of last year that aimed to dispense these same medicines in alternative scenarios, which included not only Community Pharmacies, but also other places where pharmaceutical intervention is compromised, such as health centers or even through home delivery. In this way, APEF published a communiqué in order to show solidarity with the statements made by the President of the Pharmaceutical Society, who conveyed her concerns regarding the neglect of pharmaceutical monitoring of patients with therapies which, once involving drugs of a more innovative nature, require more specialised and strict surveillance. APEF was also present at the National Pharmaceutical Council, which brings together the various personalities and decision-makers in the pharmaceutical sector, contributing to the formulation of an opinion paper that was sent to Portugal’s regulatory agency. Bruno Alves, Director of Policy Department

Pharmacists, soon allowed to vaccinate against COVID-19?

Unions and federations have been advocating for pharmacists to be able to vaccinate against COVID-19, as they have been trained to vaccinate for other pathologies such as the seasonal flu. A recommendation has been sent by the national health agency (Haute Autorité de Santé), but a legislative measure is still pending. Hopefully, 6th year Pharmacy students will be included. Nina Groult, VP International Affairs, and Chloe Lebbos, VP European Affairs



Meet the Advocacy Representatives

Joanna Niewińska & Karol Zakrzewski PPSA Poland What do you like most about being an Advocacy Platform Representative?

Tell us a bit about yourself

Karol: I’m a 6th-year pharmacy student and I’m currently the Spokesperson of PPSA. At the same time, I’m in the middle of the pharmaceutical internship in community pharmacy and I also work in the pharmaceutical company in the marketing area. Joanna: I’m PPSA’s Vice President for International Affairs. I study in the same year and university as Karol. Currently, I have an internship in a community pharmacy in my hometown. I love to work in the international environment, so this is why I am here!


Karol: The most valuable thing in being representative is the fact that we have quick access to necessary and confirmed information from across Europe. Joanna: I like that we can have a space to share news about pharmacy and have a possibility to change the world!

What are the main topics that your association covers on a national level?

Karol: I would say that we have a few main topics now, the first would be the new law about the pharmacist then, of course, all the actions connected with the change caused by coronavirus. Joanna: Also, we do our best to advocate for specific needs of PPSA Members. Lately, it was for free access to flu vaccines for 6th year interns. POLICY NEWSLETTER

How did you become interested or active in advocacy?

Karol: I think that there are three main reasons. I was always interested in politics, then I joined a program focusing on healthcare leaders where we had classes with the people who are in charge of making decisions within the country. The third reason is a little different. I was twice on the national radio talking about PPSA and after that, I liked it, so I decided I kind of wanted to do it. Joanna: I became more interested in advocacy during my Erasmus in Denmark when I was discussing politics and healthcare systems with my international friends. It was interesting to discuss many aspects of social life. I’m glad that I can continue my interests within the EPSA Advocacy Platform.

it was an important lesson and very useful in life, worth having in mind.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Karol: The future always surprises me, never goes with my plan so I assume I’ll be dancing with penguins on the iceberg. Joanna: I have a similar approach. I change my mind too often to plan my life further than the next 3 months. When I was thinking about how I’m gonna end my studies, I hadn’t expected that I would be in a place where I am right now, so in the next 10 years I will probably surprise myself again.

What is your favourite EPSA memory?

Karol: Hosting French students in Warsaw during Twinnet in 2019. What are the main gaps that you Especially Polish night during this have identified in pharmaceutical Joanna: Twinnet was remarkable, but also our visit to education in your country? Paris was 10/10 for me. I would like to greet Karol: The scientific program does not fit into IPEPS PXI! It’s definitely one of my favourite EPSA memories. today’s reality and needs of the market. Joanna: I can also add that there is a lack What advice would you give to of practical activities in other fields than other students that are interested community pharmacy.

How do you think student-led advocacy can play a role in the decisions of policy makers?

Karol: We have the power when we are speaking together, with focusing on facts then needs. Joanna: I believe when many people are united, they can achieve their goal.

in advocacy?

Karol: Don’t be scared. Think before you say. Don’t back down. Joanna: Who asks not to stray

What inspires you the most?

Karol: “Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.” - Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat. Joanna: I think words said by Maria Skłodowska - Curie ‘Nothing in life is to be feared, it’s only to be understood. We need to understand more, so that we may fear less’ had a significant impact on me and pushed me to always try to understand everything and ask ‘why’. I think EUROPEAN PHARMACEUTICAL STUDENTS’ ASSOCIATION


Chloé LEBBOS ANEPF France How did you become interested or active in advocacy?

By participating in many Webinars, or events organised by EPSA or IPSF, i’ve learnt more and more about the international side of being a pharma student!

What are the main gaps that you have identified in pharmaceutical education in your country?

The lack of “active training”, in community pharmacies, pharmaceutical industries, or at the hospital! We also lack courses on e-health and sustainable development in pharmacy.

Tell us a bit about yourself

How do you think student-led advocacy can play a role in the decisions of policy makers?

As students, we have a more naïve but also I’m a 4th year Pharmacy student in Montpellier, more innovative way of seeing the issues, which can be crucial when trying to find France solutions on such a large scale. What do you like most about Also, as students, we are directly concerned being an Advocacy Platform with tomorrow’s policies. Including us in the decision-making process would make it more Representative? I love learning about all the different health sustainable. systems across Europe, and fighting for a What advice would you give to unique right to health and well-being. It’s other students that are interested fascinating how different our cultures are, yet we unite for a similar cause, with different in advocacy? views and ways to obtain it! Go for it, you’ll love it!

What are the main topics that your association covers on a national level?

We are mostly focused on Public Health and the profession! We’re working on environmental Health in community pharmacy, AMR, and the digitalisation of our profession and health system.



Our Team

Piotr Nawrocki

Jess McNamara

Policy Affairs

VP European Affairs

Policy Affairs Coordinator 2020/21 policy@epsa-online.org

Vice President of European Affairs 2020/21 vp.ea@epsa-online.org