Patient Empowerment, Medicine Access @ Point of Care, Jasmin Barman-Aksözen

Patient representation during the evaluation of medicines by key decision makers such as regulatory agencies, Health Technology Assessment bodies, and healthcare payers is increasingly considered to add value to the appraisals and empowers patients, which means that they gain a more powerful voice over decisions and actions affecting their own health. As I myself suffer from the ultra-rare condition erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP), I have participated as a patient expert in several discussions on access to afamelanotide, which currently is the only treatment for EPP and was approved in the European Union (EU) in 2014. As a molecular biologist with a PhD in EPP research, I consider myself having the necessary requirements to meaningfully contribute to such assessments. In this article, I share my personal experiences with regard to the discussions on access in Germany and England at the respective national competent authorities, the Federal Joint Committee, and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, respectively. In addition, I discuss the insights of the International Porphyria Patient Network, a group of highly empowered EPP patients effectively supporting national patient communities in their efforts to enable access to the afamelanotide treatment in their countries.