Patients and consumers
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and patients have been actively interacting since the creation of the Agency in 1995. This cooperation was extended to include consumer groups with an interest in medicines. Both of these stakeholder groups bring a 'real-life' experience as well as specific knowledge and expertise to scientific discussions on medicines and on the impact of regulatory decisions. Collaborating with these groups supports transparency and improves regulatory processes.
The framework for interaction between EMA and patients and consumers and their organisations outlines the basis for involving patients and consumers in Agency activities. EMA's Management Board endorsed a revised framework in 2014:
- Revised framework on the interaction of the Agency with patients and consumers and their organisations
The framework aims at:
- supporting the Agency to access experiences of diseases, their management and information on current use of medicines;
- contributing to more efficient and targeted communication to patients and consumers;
- enhancing understanding of the role of the EU medicines regulatory network.
This framework is in line with EMA's overarching framework for stakeholder relations management, which the EMA Management Board adopted in June 2016:
Patients and consumers are involved in a wide range of activities at the Agency, including:
- as members of the Management Board;
- as members of scientific committees;
- being consulted on disease-specific requests by the scientific committees and working parties;
- taking part in discussions on the development and authorisation of medicines;
- reviewing written information on medicines prepared by the Agency;
- being involved in the preparation of guidelines;
- taking part in the Agency's conferences and workshops.
EMA is helping ICH to ensure that the perspectives of European patients, healthcare professionals and clinical researchers are taken into account in the ongoing revision of its International Council on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) E6 good clinical practice (GCP) guideline, by coordinating the stakeholder engagement process in Europe on the behalf of ICH.
As a first step, EMA held a workshop with its Patients' and Consumers' (PCWP) and Healthcare Professionals' (HCPWP) Working Parties in June 2020 to gather their views and experiences. The workshop summary report is available:
ICH is revising this guideline to make it more responsive to advances in clinical trial design and conduct. It has committed itself to engaging stakeholders from the outset of the revision process, particularly patient representatives and academic clinical researchers. This is to ensure that the revised guideline will meet the needs of those conducting or participating in clinical trials.