Promoting Patients’ Rights in the EU


Strasbourg, 22 April 2009

Taking the opportunity of the third European Patients’ Rights Day, EuropaBio, the EU Association for Bioindustries, reiterates the call to European Institutions and national governments for the involvement of patients in all EU political debates about healthcare. The aim of this day is to start or continue a dialogue at European and national levels on how to implement patients’ rights. Empowering European patients and placing their needs and concerns at the heart of all healthcare policies is the key objective of the Active Citizenship Network’s (ACN) European Charter of Patients’ Rights(1). 
The Charter, based on the right for a “high level of human health protection" as provided in the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union, calls for a right of equal access, rights to information, innovation and personalised treatments, which EuropaBio has also been advocating for and emphasises in the Healthcare Manifesto 2009-2010. 
Launched on 21 April, the latest version of the EuropaBio Healthcare Manifesto (2) continues to call for healthcare systems in Europe that are committed to putting the patient at the centre of any medical, social, economical and ethical consideration. Budgetary considerations should be secondary to this overarching political mandate and its implementation. All patients deserve access to the most effective therapies regardless of their country of residence, their income level or the rarity of their disease. Policies and legislation that limit access to innovative technology lead to delays in access to medical care and are also resulting in higher healthcare costs. Today, the healthcare biotech industry is promoting patients’ awareness of their rights as a key step to achieving patient-centred healthcare systems.
“EuropaBio has been at the forefront advocating for patients through initiatives such as our Healthcare Manifesto and Patient Advisory Group,” said Andrea Rappagliosi Chairman of EuropaBio’s Healthcare Council. He continued, “we will continue to work for the rights of patients to access innovative, effective, safe and quality treatments wherever they live. We hope that joint efforts of patients groups, such as the ACN, and EuropaBio, contribute to making policy makers aware of the importance of patient-centred healthcare systems, as can be seen in the proposed new Directive on Patients’ Rights and cross-border healthcare.” 
With EU Parliament elections coming up, European Patients’ Rights Day is an important opportunity for citizens to voice to their MEP candidates their opinions, needs and expectations as to the role Europe should play with regards to their health and health care services. 
Guided by the principles laid down in its Healthcare Manifesto, EuropaBio will continue to work in close collaboration with patient advocacy groups so that the patient’s voice is heard in all aspects of EU healthcare policies.
Notes to the Editor
(1) The Active Citizenship Network (ACN) is a European network of citizens’ organizations created in November 2001 and promoted by the Italian NGO Cittadinanzattiva. ACN aims at contributing to the development of a European Active Citizenship and at promoting the participation of citizens’ organizations in European and national public policies. ACN is based on partnership rather than membership. Some 80 citizens’ organizations from 30 EU and candidate countries have already participated as partners in one or more ACN project and over 300 organizations have taken part in at least one of ACN's initiatives. It is open to all civic organizations that defend citizens’ rights and/or public goods in Europe and that are willing to contribute to its strategy. 
The ACN’s European Charter of Patients’ Rights
About European Patients’ Rights Day
Promoted by the Active Citizenship Network (ACN), the European Patients’ Rights Day is celebrated annually across Europe in the majority of EU Member States through awareness raising activities, discussion forums and media events. The main objective is to promote the ACN’s European Charter of Patients’ Rights among lay people and to call upon national stakeholders to further strategies related to patients’ rights in each country.  For more information, visit: A listing of national events is available at:
About EuropaBio
EuropaBio is the European Association for Bioindustries, solely and uniquely bringing together bioscience companies from all fields of research and development, testing, manufacturing and distribution of biotechnology products. It has 68 corporate and 7 associated members, 4 BioRegions and 25 national biotechnology associations representing some 1800 small and medium sized enterprises involved in research.
For further information, please contact
Ludovic Lacaine
Director Healthcare Biotech, EuropaBio
Tel: +32 2 739 11 83; Email:
Andrea Campbell
Communications Officer, EuropaBio
Tel: +32 2 739 11 61; Email:

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