EDQM virtual conference (October 2020)

The European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines (EDQM) conference took place virtually from Tuesday 27th – Thursday 29th October 2020. The conference marked 10 years of successful collaboration between the EC and the EDQM/Council of Europe in the field of blood. Topics discussed included updates and discussions on:

  • The Evaluation of the EU Blood, Tissues and Cells legislation
  • COVID-19 and the blood sector: Risks, response measures and developments
  • Initiatives to help European blood establishments to have more resilient and sustainable blood systems
  • Issues surrounding the continuity of the blood supply amid COVID-19 and beyond

You can find out more about the conference here.

Revision of the EU Blood Directive confirmed (October 2020)

The revision of the EU Blood Directive by the European commission is now confirmed. The Commission’s Work Programme 2021 includes a legislative proposal (expected in Q4 2021). The review will aim to “allow for more flexible alignment to scientific and technological developments”. The inception impact assessment is expected by the end of the year. You can find a link to the work programme annex document here (p16, point 37).

EU-MDS project guidelines (October 2020)

The EU-funded research project MDS-RIGHT (Providing the right care to the right patient with Myelodysplastic Syndrome at the right time) has developed guidelines for the treatment of MDS patients that include a consensus on indications and hemoglobulin target levels for red blood cell transfusions at a European level. The MDS Europe guidelines are available here.

Publication: Revisiting the use and management of blood in Europe, in times of crisis and beyond (September 2020)

In a stakeholder opinion piece published in Euractiv, Dr Androulla Eleftheriou, Dr Axel Hofmann and Prof Norbert Gattermann reflect on Europe’s blood supply, approaches to the use of blood in the care of patients with long-term chronic diseases; and how the COVID-19 pandemic has outlined some of the existing challenges in the blood ecosystem and medical care. They make a parallel with the ongoing evaluation of the EU Blood Directive and the ways in which EU policies could help strengthen healthcare systems and support blood sustainability in the long term, towards better patients’ outcomes. You can find the article here.

Publication: The Essential Role of Patient Blood Management in a Pandemic: A Call for Action (June 2020)

Amid the global pandemic, health care systems face tremendous challenges. In the article “Essential Role of Patient Blood Management in a Pandemic: A Call for Action” Dr Axel Hofmann and a multinational and diverse group of experts from across the globe issue a “Call to Action” explaining the importance of patient blood management (PBM) in the management of pandemics and urge all stakeholders and providers to implement the principles of patient blood management and its multi-professional and multimodality approaches.

The full journal article can be found here.

World Blood Donor Day “Safe Blood Saves Lives” (June 2020)

On June 14, countries around the celebrated World Blood Donor Day, under the topic “Safe Blood Saves Lives”. Blood is a lifesaving resource and in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic blood donations are needed more than ever. Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides thanked all blood and plasma donors and explained that as the world continues to fight against the virus, blood donors make an essential contribution to the healthcare systems. The European Blood Alliance (EBA) stressed the importance of increasing donation, raising public awareness and alerting public health authorities to invest in adequate resources and infrastructure to ensure universal access to safe blood. The World Health Organisation’s communication campaign with the motto “Give blood and make the world a healthier place”, focused on the contribution that donors make to improve the health of patients in need.

European Commission proposes a new, standalone EU Health Programme “EU4Health” (June 2020)

The COVID-19 crisis has outlined the need for more effective and coordinated European health actions between Member States. Against this background, the European Commission proposed the EU4health programme, a robust health programme for 2021-2027 with the main objective of ensuring better EU preparedness and response to major cross border health threats and sustainable health care systems across member states. The Programme’s proposed budget consists of €9.4 billion funded from the upcoming Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the Recovery Instrument ‘’Next Generation EU”. This programme is an opportunity to reinforce healthcare systems and medical care to improve outcomes for patients in Europe, making progress in developing and implementing innovative approaches including in the blood transfusion landscape. It also aims to provide the means to strengthen medical education, research and clinical practices across Europe and the implementation of new care models.

European research programme Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe
(June 2020)

The European Commission updated the Horizon 2020 work programme to allocate € 641 million to coronavirus research and innovation. Members of the European Parliament and Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, in charge of research and innovation, are calling for a strong research programme and a swift decision so that Horizon Europe can be launched in January 2021.

20th edition of the European “Blood Guide” now published
(June 2020)

The new version (20th edition) of the Guide to preparation, use and quality assurance of blood components, (so called “Blood Guide”) was recently published by the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines (EDQM), Council of Europe. It compiles all European standards for the preparation, use and quality control of blood components in order to ensure safety, efficiency and quality requirement in Europe and worldwide.

EU-led network for rare blood disorders launches new disease registry (June 2020)

On the 1st of June 2020, The European Reference Network for Rare Blood Disorders (EuroBloodNet) launched The European Rare Blood Disorders Platform (ENROL), a new disease registry encompassing both already existing and new rare hematological disorders’ registries. The goal of the register is to combine all data and promote interoperability standards for EU’s rare disease platform patients’ registries. It will also map all data (demographics, survival rates, diagnosis methods, genetic information, main clinical manifestations and treatments) at the EU level in order to distinguish epidemiological figures and identify more easily trial cohorts for basic and clinical research. The online kick-off meeting took place on the 2nd of July.