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European Patients’ Academy: training a new generation of patients

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    The modern patient needs new skills to understand how medicines are developed, how they work, and how they are regulated.

    Europe spends an average of around 9.5% of national GDP on healthcare but few citizens are equipped to follow medical research and the journey of a new medicine from lab bench to the patient’s bedside.

    The European Patients’ Academy on Therapeutic Innovation (EUPATI) aims to take the mystery out of drug development – a process which can be long, complex and costly.

    Funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative, the European Patients’ Academy will provide scientifically reliable, objective, comprehensive information to patients on medicines research and development.

    The five-year multi-stakeholder project brings together European leaders in patient advocacy, universities, not-for-profit organisations and pharmaceutical companies. UCB is proud to be an industry partner of EUPATI.

    As a patient-led initiative, it strives to educate patient representatives and the general public by providing training and information. EUPATI will run a certificate-level course that will produce 100 patient experts by 2017, provide online educational material for 12,000 patient representatives, and develop an Internet library with information for anyone interested in medicines research and development.

    Creating a critical mass of informed patient advocates is crucial not just to fostering patient safety but to improving clinical trial design, involving patients in regulatory and reimbursement processes, and efficiently delivering the new therapies that patients need.

    EUPATI’s work is already under way. For example, a workshop was held in Warsaw, Poland, recently to learn more about what patients need to know about medicines development. Participants came from 25 countries: 74 were from patient organisations and the rest were from academia, industry or non-governmental organisations.

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