European project aimed at tackling rare diseases to be launched next week

The European reference networks are to be launched next week, bringing together healthcare providers across Europe to tackle complex and rare diseases

Health Minister Chris Fearne emphasised importance of specialised cross-border training
Health Minister Chris Fearne emphasised importance of specialised cross-border training

The European reference networks (ERNs), a project aimed at tackling complex or rare diseases and conditions that require highly specialised treatment, will be launched next week, health minister Chris Fearne has announced.

ERNs are virtual networks involving healthcare providers across Europe, and should serve as research and knowledge centres, updating and contributing to the latest scientific findings, treating patients from other member states and ensuring the availability of subsequent treatment facilities where necessary.

Fearne made the announcement during his opening speech at the Structured Co-operation between Health Systems meeting.

Fearne also spoke about the importance of specialised cross-border training for European doctors.

In particular, Fearne made reference to how cross-border cooperation can improve the services given to patient with regard to what is known as “orphan drugs.”

“These medicines are not manufactured in large quantities because they are not required by a large number of patients. On the other hand, manufacturers need to recover the costs of research. Thus, the price for these medicines is high. We need to address this issue on a European level,” Fearne said.

The minister concluded by reminding that Malta will be hosting an informal meeting of European health minister, which will focus on cross-boarder cooperation.

Cooperation between member states in the health sector is one of Malta’s priority for its six-month stint at the helm of the presidency of the Council of the European Union.

More in Health