Tuesday 30 March 2010

Spain, ECJ and cross border care

A French citizen resident (as well as insured) in Spain have won a complaint with the European Commission due to the fact that they have not reimbursed his medical expenses for an unplanned hospital treatment. The Advocate General at the European Court of Justice found that if same reimbursement principles doesn’t apply for the Spanish citizens when they travel in Europe then that is not an acceptable restriction (would force the Spanish residents to return earlier than planned if falling ill) and therefore in bread of the freedom to provide services. That this might trigger health tourism the Advocate General finds unlikely since the conditions only apply to unplanned treatments – medical needs. One could hope this would give a hint to Spain that they must give up their fight against all types of cross border care and accept European case law.

Thursday 18 March 2010

AEDs used by the public saves lifes - lots of them

You double your chance to survive a cardiac arrest if you stay in an area where portable defibrillators (the so called AEDs) are common and the public allowed to use them.

As reported by Reuters Dr. Tetsuhisa Kitamura, of the Kyoto University Health Service have published a study in New England Journal of Medicine analyzing information on more than 300,000 Japanese adults who suffered cardiac arrest between 2005 and 2007. The study shows that only 14 percent of the12,631 people that suffered a cardiac arrest in front of witnesses survived and had minimal brain damage one month later. Better odds for those receiving treatment with an AED by one of those witnesses: of those who got an AED shock from a witness it wasn’t 14 but instead 32 percent that survived with little to no brain damage.

And availability is the key: from 2005 to 2007 the rate of those treated by a public AED rose from 1.2 percent to 6.2 percent and cardiac arrest survival was greater in geographic areas with more AEDs.

We have to get away from the perception that healthcare is something mere for the profession to deliver in line with what the government have planned.

Tuesday 16 March 2010

The EU says no to financial incentives for prescribers

The European Court of Juistice advocate general Niilo Jääskinen har issued an opinion that condemns financial incentives for prescribers also by state authorities. The background is that the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has complained about the prescribing incentive schemes the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in the UK runs. The incentive scheme reward doctors for prescribing specific named medicinal products. This would be against the ban on promotion of medicinal products by gift, pecuniary advantage or benefits in kind to persons qualified to prescribe them. Not uncommon that the authorities try to regulate what the doctors prescribe – in Sweden so called ethical lists are compiled by the regions. Positive and negative lists are still allowed though according to the advocate general. I would assume that this means that the penalty system in Germany is ok. It seems that it’s not forcing the doctors to prescribe the medicines preferred that is illegal – no carrots only sticks…

Granström Grubblar

Excellent new blog on pharma language/info/advertising by Anders Granström - in Swedish

Friday 12 March 2010

Patient View on Patient Info

Today also FT picks up on the excellent report Patient View have presented on Patient Information.