#01 Workshop with Donald Evans (Science and industry lunch 1)


22 Nov 2006


From 2005 until 2009, CROSSTALKS ran a bottom-up and interdisciplinary project “The Future of Medication in a Patient-centered Health Care”, a series of conferences and workshops to develop constructive dialogues between all the partners in the health care sector.

Crucial in this project was the collaborative partnership and sharing of knowledge between academics, industry, physicians, pharmacists, patients, sick funds and insurances, health and social care organizations and policymakers.


Wednesday, NOV 22nd | 2006

Lessons to be learned from global ethical positions

09:30 – 10:00 Welcome & coffee
10:00 – 10:45 Donald Evans, Director Bioethics Centre University of Otaga, New Zealand
10.45 – 12.30 Open discussion initiated by the following discussants: Sigrid Sterckx, UGhent & VUB, Guido Pennings, UGhent, Jacques De Grève, VUB
12:30 – 14:00 Apero followed by lunch in the CONVIVIUM (next to the university restaurant)�

Bios / Slides

Donald Evans taught at the University of Wales for twenty nine years. He developed the first European Masters degree program in Medical Ethics, served as a member of the Governing Body of the Institute of Medical Ethics and has published numerous books and learned papers. He was elected a member of the Academy of Humanitarian Research, Moscow in 1996. He has conducted research projects for the UK Department of Health and led two European Commission international research projects. He has completed two research reports on health care systems in the Third World - one for the European Commission and the other for the World Health Organisation and further research reports for the Health funding Authority and the Health Research Council. He served as a member of the Independent Biotechnology Advisory Council, the HRC Ethics Committee and the National Ethics Advisory Committee. He is currently a member of the UNESCO International Ethics Committee and the UNESCO Commission on Ethics as well as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Stem Cell Oversight Committee. Professor Evans was appointed Director of the Bioethics Centre in the University of Otago in New Zeeland in 1997.

Sigrid Sterckx is professor of ethics and expert on patents at Ghent University and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She teaches ethics, bio-ethics and environmental ethics. At present, her research is focused on the impact of the current patent system on global access to health care, with special attention to access to basic, essential medicines. She serves on several advisory committees, e.g. the Belgian Advisory Committee on Bioethics which advises the federal government.

Jacques De Grève (MD) is a medical oncologist and head of the Medical Oncology Dept at the Academic Hospital of Vrije Universiteit Brussel (AZ VUB), where he is also president of the Day Clinic in the Oncology centre. As a member of the College for Oncology, he is in charge of setting out the national guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. His clinical activities are being continued through numerous research labs.

Guido Pennings is professor of ethics and bioethics at Ghent University. He is the director of the Bioethics Institute Ghent (BIG) and the current president of the Task Force on Ethics and Law of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE). He is also a member of the Ad Hoc Ethics Committee of the Centre for Reproductive Medicine of the Academic Hospital of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the National Advisory Committee for Bioethics, the Federal Commission on Medical and Scientific Research on Embryos in vitro and of the Reflection Group for Biomedical Ethics of the Academic Hospital of Vrije Universiteit Brussel.


The Future of Medication project was launched on October 13th with a public congress entitled ‘Exploring the Added Value of Medication’, offering a platform for an impressive line-up of both national and international speakers on health care, staging social scientists, bio-informatics, health economists, sick funds, local and European policy makers, ethicists and the pharmaceutical industry.

As the 3-year project format consists of larger conferences to set the scene and smaller workshops to discuss and focus on specific issues, on the 22nd of November an exclusive group of Belgian ethicists, politicians, interest groups and medics zoomed in on “Lessons to be learned from global ethics”. Donald Evans, Director of the Bioethics Centre of the Otago University in New Zealand and a renowned international ethical advisor was invited especially for the occasion. Belgian ethicists Guido Pennings (UGhent), Sigrid Sterckx (UGhent and VUB) and oncologist Jacques de Grève (VUB) seated as discussants to instigate the debate afterwards.

Evans pleaded for a more general ethical approach within R&D levels of health care and drug development and appealed for a more open and transparent research environment amongst scientists. This would allow for a more constructive sharing and distribution of research results, which he implicitly put forward as the only way to truly explore added values in health care that are not only driven by economic growth and innovation.

Research on chronicle diseases such as cancer (De Grève) and fertility (Pennings), now mostly conducted in Western countries, will become increasingly important as these disorders will become health care priorities in the developing countries as well. According to Sigrid Sterckx, the big challenge however remains access to efficient and affordable medication and care. The remark that in ethical discussions, it is far most the pharmaceutical industry that is always scapegoated, prevailed during the discussion afterwards. Company directors claimed that all the stakeholders in health care need to step up and take part of their social responsibility and investigate opportunities to create real, genuine, added values for their patients. In spite of the far-reaching goodwill that already exists on behalf of the pharmaceutical companies, they stated, the industry is and will always be an economic entity, rather than a social institution...�


This project could be realized due to unconditional grants by

Astra Zeneca Foundation
Janssen Pharmaceutica