A brief history of the Hepatitis B&C Public Policy Association
In April 2009, a group of leading European scientists, public health experts and patient advocates founded the Hepatitis B and C Summit Conferences Association as a Luxembourg-based not-for-profit Association.
The aim of the association is to urge and facilitate the formulation of public policies at national and international level for the communication, prevention and management of the spread of viral hepatitis B and C. The Association’s unique approach in furtherance of this aim is to gather together, and work in partnership with, the major stakeholders in the field of these diseases including regulators, patients, clinicians, public health and civil society communities and the private sector.
In the beginning, the Association aimed primarily to deliver a summit conference on Hepatitis B and C in Europe, which was held in Brussels in October 2010 under the auspices of the Belgian EU Presidency. A call-to-action followed this meeting.
Since then the Hepatitis B & C Public Policy Association has hosted a further three major meetings. The Conference on Hepatitis B and C in Mediterranean and Balkan Countries was held between 5th-7th December 2012, in Nicosia, Cyprus under the auspices of the Cyprus EU Presidency. This Conference addressed the urgent need to prevent, diagnose and treat viral hepatitis B and C in Mediterranean and Balkan countries where the burden of these diseases is significant, the Conference presented both new and existing data and permitted targeted discussion with the specific objective of promoting common strategies on their prevention and management. A call-to-action followed.
The third major event organised by the Hepatitis B&C Public Policy Association was The High Level Meeting held in Athens, Greece on 3-4 June 2014 under the auspices of the Greek EU Presidency, the Greek Ministry of Health and the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The meeting addressed the subject of "Economic crisis and healthcare – ensuring access to public health services: the case of hepatitis B and C". The Athens High-Level Meeting examined national approaches, debated new developments and identified public policies to facilitate and improve access to care and treatment for hepatitis B and hepatitis C even in countries where austerity programmes are in place. A call-to-action followed which covered themes such as urging EU to implement specific policies to address barriers related to availability and access to evidence-based knowledge of hepatitis B and C, access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment services, social stigma and discrimination. A call to action followed.
The biggest event organised by the Hepatitis B&C Public Policy Association to date was the First ever EU HCV Summit dedicated to the Elimination of HCV in Europe “Hepatitis C: The beginning of the end - key elements for successful European and national strategies to eliminate HCV in Europe” which took place on 17th February 2016 in Brussels . It was an historic event and represents an important milestone, as it was the first ever high-level conference organized on the topic of hepatitis C elimination on a European level. One-hundred and forty European stakeholders and policy-makers, including clinicians, patient advocacy groups, representatives of key institutions and regional bodies from across Europe gathered together to present the case for a European Elimination Strategy for hepatitis C. The Summit was addressed by Dr Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner, Dr John F Ryan, Director of DG Santé and MEPs including Cristian Silviu Buşoi, Chair of MEP Interest Group Friends of the Liver.
At this Summit many examples of good practice were presented which if replicated on a larger scale could lead to successfully eliminating HCV by 2030. The event concluded with the launch of the Elimination Manifesto with its 7 calls providing a roadmap for action. The article arising from the 2016 Summit is available on this site.
In the last quarter of 2017 the Hepatitis B& C Public Policy Association organised a series of three Mini Summits at the European Parliament entitled “Brussels elimination days” or Mini HCV Policy Summits dedicated to the elimination of hepatitis C in Romania, Portugal and Greece.
In June 2018 the 2nd EU HCV Policy Summit entitled Securing sustainable funding for Hepatitis C Virus elimination plans provided an opportunity to meet and connect with Europe’s leading policymakers and experts on HCV. It brought together over 100 members of National and European Parliaments, high-level government officials, experts and opinion leaders from across Europe in a unique multi-stakeholder set-up with the aim to discuss proposals and solutions to secure sustainable funding for hepatitis elimination plans.
The topics covered at that summit were The cost of HCV Elimination in the EU 28, The cost of patient reported outcomes and productivity loss due to HCV in EU 28 Innovative Financing of HCV Elimination. HCV Elimination and European Financing Institutions and culminated in a Call to Action: Declaration for sustainable funding of HCV elimination in Europe.
The current members of the Hepatitis B&C Public Policy Association are:
- Prof. Maria Buti, Spain
- Dr. Manuel Carballo, Switzerland
- Prof. Laurent Castera, France
- Prof. Massimo Colombo, Italy
- Prof. Antonio Craxi, Italy
- Prof. Gamal Esmat, Egypt
- Prof. Rafaël Esteban, Spain
- Prof. David Goldberg, UK
- Prof. Angelos Hatzakis, Greece
- Prof. Harry Janssen, The Netherlands
- Mr. George Kalamitsis, Greece
- Prof. Jeffrey V. Lazarus, Spain
- Dr. Ricardo Baptista-Leite MP, Portugal
- Prof. Patrick Marcellin, France
- Prof. Mojca Matičič, Slovenia
- Prof. George Papatheodoridis, Greece
- Prof. Markus Peck-Radosavljevic, Austria
- Dr. Homie Razavi, USA
- Prof. Nurdan Tozün, Turkey
- Prof. Pierre Van Damme, Belgium
- Prof. Su Wang, USA
- Prof. Heiner Wedemeyer, Germany
- Prof. Zobair M Younossi, USA
- Affiliated Member: Mr. Nikos Dedes, Greece