EMA and the two major organisations representing general practitioners (GPs) and family physicians in Europe – the European Union of General Practitioners (UEMO) and the European section of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) – and the major organisation representing primary care professionals in Europe, the European Forum for Primary Care (EFPC), have signed a joint statement committing to strengthening interaction between EMA and this important group of healthcare professionals.
“GPs and family physicians play a key role in patient care,” said EMA’s Executive Director Guido Rasi at the official signing of the joint statement at EMA on 6 June. “They often have initial contact with patients and provide continuity of care to all members of the family, often over many decades, and this puts them in a unique position. The statement, signed today, affirms EMA’s commitment to actively involve GPs and family physicians in its work to ensure that we can bring valuable knowledge from primary care into medicines regulation.”
While EMA benefits from an existing framework of interaction with healthcare professionals – including physicians, pharmacists and nurses – interactions with GPs and family physicians and feedback from primary care to EMA are currently limited. Developing a strong working relationship with this very large group of physicians aims to:
- help EMA gain a better understanding of how medicines are being used in real life and the potential impact of specific regulatory actions on patient care;
- facilitate the incorporation of views and input from GPs and family physicians into the Agency’s activities;
- raise awareness amongst GPs and family physicians of the role and activities of the EU medicines regulatory network.
The statement includes a concrete action plan to 2020 to guide EMA, UEMO, EFPC and WONCA in their joint work. Specific areas of collaboration include involving GPs and family physicians in EMA evaluation activities, developing communication activities relevant to GPs and family physicians, as well as exploring options for further collaboration with existing research networks in primary care, with a focus on generating real-world evidence. The action plan also identifies opportunities for cooperation in regulatory science training.
The development of the joint statement follows a workshop which took place in 2016 with representatives of GPs and family physicians in order to explore new ways to engage with these providers of primary care in EU Member States and further involve them in EMA activities.
Progress will be monitored and discussed within the EMA GP/family physician expert group and reported to the EMA healthcare professionals’ working party (HCPWP).