My visit in Almedalen has begun…

So, today I arrived in Visby, Gotland, to participate in the ”political summit in Almedalen”. You know from my blog post last Friday that I will be here in beautiful Almedalen during the week.

A sunny Almedalen...

A sunny Almedalen...

The first seminar I visited was a discussion about pharmaceuticals arranged by our Green Party (”Miljöpartiet”). The participants described a whole range of problems, or challenges, with pharmaceuticals, for instance:

- releases from manufacturing and patient excreation of active substances

- use of multiple (10 or more) pharmaceuticals simultaneously with unknown potential interactions

- adverse effects, e.g. depression

The seminar also presented the Green Party’s suggested solutions. And many of them are very easy to agree with. There was for instance the discussion of the need to review the list of pharmaceuticals for especially elderly people regularly (in Swedish: ”Läkemedelsgenomgångar”), prescribing physical activity when possible and relevant (in Swedish: FAR – ”fysiskt arbete på recept”), environmental considerations in the choice of medicines when possible and relevant, the need of more research, and etcetera. The seminar had a very negative, or pessimistic, approach to start out with, but when the discussion pointed to solutions it became more optimistic. And the industry in general, and LIF – the association of the research based pharmaceutical industry in Sweden – specifically, was given cred for among other things the initiative Environmental Classification of Pharmaceuticals Substances. Thanks, very appreciated!

I then followed a discussion about the implementation of LEAN within Swedish healthcare. For more details on LEAN, read for instance my blogposts from Nov 19, 2010 and Nov 15, 2011. The County Council in Gävleborg gave us some insights in their experiences from working with a LEAN-approach. I am happy to hear that they remain focused on this. I participated in a similar seminar last year in Almedalen, and the success seem to continue!

After lunch I worked together with several LIF colleagues, presenting vårdfrågan.nu. Follow that link, and learn about what Swedes think about healthcare issues…

My next seminar was a discussion on public procurement and environmental and social sustainability criteria. Very interesting to listen to representatives from county councils, lawyers, the National Board of Trade, and MSR (the Swedish Environmental Management Council). As you know, MSR, have developed criteria documents for several products (including pharmaceuticals). The interesting discussion here was how ”tough” these environmental and/or social criteria could be without jeopardizing free trade within Europe and limiting competition. As I say interesting, and apparantly still somewhat unclear… I have said many times that I think many of these requirements/criteria are good, as long as the county councils review industry’s responses and do follow-ups. For more info on this topic please read my previous blog posts from e.g. March 13, 2012, and Dec 1, 2011.

And as always during the political summit, at 7 pm we all gathered to listen to a party leader giving his/her speech. Today is was Åsa Romson from the Green Party. Looking forward to new interesting seminars tomorrow, more promotion of vårdfrågan.nu, and yet another party leader speech.

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