From CHC Insight Europe Editor, Sarah Carter, who reports that the AESGP sees a brilliant future for self-care, but that the industry must continue to adapt.
Focusing on self-care in times of the pandemic and beyond, the 57th AESGP Annual Meeting discussed opportunities, challenges and lessons learnt. While the pandemic has caused significant disruption and altered behaviours, priorities and shopping habits, it has driven a surge in interest in self-care, with consumers increasingly looking to stay well and prevent illness. Birgit Schuhbauer, who has just been re-elected as AESGP President for the next two years, stated that the CHC industry has a “brilliant future ahead of us”.
The CHC industry has had to adapt to this changing landscape, although a number of speakers stressed that it must do so at a quicker pace as technology and evolving consumer demands continue to disrupt the traditional self-care model. AESGP Director General Jurate Svarcaite concluded that there is no going back to the old model, stressing that the “new normal” requires collaboration and partnership.
Speakers also touched upon the infodemic and the increasing consumer appetite for instant information, which European Medicines Agency Executive Director Emer Cooke said was difficult to manage when you try to have a “sound scientific basis for what you communicate”. However, the worrying spread of misinformation and disinformation means that increased and better communication is vital.
The Annual Meeting coincided with the long-awaited implementation of the new EU Medical Device Regulation; participants shared their excitement and optimism at the development and celebrated how much work had been done, but were keen to stress there remains a way to go, particularly in terms of harmonisation across Europe and the capacity of notified bodies.
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