IRISH HEALTH TRADE ASSOCIATIONWorking together towards a healthier IrelandAnnual General Meeting18 April 2012Presentation by: Alan Ruth Chief Executive Officer
CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS: “Essential areas of activity that must be performed well if you are to achieve the mission, goals and objectives of the organisation” They should receive constant and careful attention from management Slide from AGM presentation 24 May 2007
CSFs - Activities with external stakeholders Lobby public representatives in Ireland & Europe Target potential new members to build membership numbers Act as spokesperson in communications with regulatory bodies & other relevant agencies Act as spokesperson in communications with the media Liaise, cooperate and share information with organizations sharing similar interests Cooperate with the IAHS, IPU, & practitioner associations Counter adverse publicity about our sector and its products Disseminate carefully selected positive news about our industry Slide from AGM presentation 24 May 2007
CSFs - activities with internal stakeholders Report regularly to Executive Council on plans, activities, and results. Gain Executive Council approval for position papers & proposed action plans Work closely with Working Parties on important issues, briefing documents, working papers, action plans etc Nurture relationships with Member companies – provide information & advice, learn their needs, priorities and opinions. Liaise closely with Phil on key issues and agree actions Keep member companies up to date with relevant industry, product, and research news Slide from AGM presentation 24 May 2007
Irish MEPs lobbied who indicated support& current ‘support ratings’ (5 = Excellent) Marian Harkin, Independent / ALDE - support rating = 5 Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael / EPP – support rating = 4 Liam Aylward, Fianna Fáil / ALDE – support rating = 4 Pat the Cope Gallagher, Fianna Fáil / ALDE – support rating = 4 Brian Crowley, Fianna Fáil / ALDE – support rating = 4 Gay Mitchell, Fine Gael / EPP – support rating = 3 .5 Seán Kelly, Fine Gael / EPP – support rating = 3.5 Jim Nicholson, Ulster Unionist Party / ECRG – support rating = 3.5 Diane Dodds, Democratic Unionist Party / Non-attached – support rating = 3 (?)
Other Irish MEPs whose level of support is unknown • Nessa Childers, Labour / S&D - support rating: ? (met with twice) • Phil Prendergast, Labour / S&D - support rating: ? (telephone conversation only) • Emer Costello, Labour / S&D – new (replaced Proinsias De Rossa in March - haven’t tried to meet yet) • Bairbre de Brún, Sinn Féin / (GUE/NGL) – on long term sick leave (liase with her PA Emma Calvert) • Jim Higgins, Fine Gael / EPP – failed in continued efforts to get appointment • Paul Murphy, Socialist / (GUE/ NGL) – failed in continued efforts to get appointment
Other MEP activity • In October 2011, Nathalie Wood and Patrick Ahern travelled to Strasbourg to meet with MEPs to lobby re securing an EP resolution on implementation of Regulation No 1924/2006 on Nutrition & Health Claims • I was ask to assist in making appointments for them with Irish MEPs and their Political Assistants • They managed to meet with 15 key people during their 2 days in Strasbourg. The breakdown of the meetings was: 5 Irish MEPs (it should have been 6 but 1 had to cancel) 5 Irish Political Assistants 2 UK MEPs (accompanied by 1 ECR Advisor & 1 ECR Secretariat representative) 1 UK Political Assistant O In more recent times the mix of nationalities of MEPs met has become much more varied . This is very positive development
“Lobbying” EHPM • For a period of several months, I worked closely with an EHPM colleague in an attempt to get EHPM to be more active, more effective, and more organised on the European lobbying front. • Their lobbying had been weak, poorly directed and poorly coordinated. • Over recent years they did very little to activate non-active national associations into lobbying MEPs in their own Member States. • Unfortunately, the majority of EHPM member associations seem to be unaware of EHPM’s historical weakness in this crucial area of activity (i.e. MEP lobbying). • The IHTA & the HFMA have led the way on the lobbying front. • EHPM have now commenced working with some of the previously inactive national associations on the MEP lobbying front and the objectives & strategy have become more focused & subject to ongoing review. • Nathalie Wood of EHPM is now spending significantly more time on her EHPM lobbying work.
A Critical Success Factor for our industry: Significantly increased MEP lobbying activity
National trade associations ‘lobbied’ by me to: start or increase lobbying their national MEPs • Naredi (Belgium) • Synadiet (France) • NPN (the Netherlands) • CASP (Czech Republic) • AFEPADI (Spain)? • AFINUR (Spain)? • Svensk Egenvård • AIIPA (Italy) • Federsalus (Italy) • BDIH (Germany)? • Health Product Wholesalers' and Manufacturers' Association (Finland) • KRSiO (Poland) O Green colouring indicates associations that have now started MEP lobbying activities. O HFMA was not lobbied because like the IHTA they were already very active.
Lobbying the Permanent Representation of Ireland to the European Union • The Irish Government has 90 people working in Brussels to represent Ireland’s interests in the EU. • They work at the Permanent Representation of Ireland to the EU. • The Perm Rep brings together civil servants from nearly every Government Department - Ireland’s biggest diplomatic mission abroad. • Their job is to negotiate and lobby on behalf of Ireland. They make sure that Ireland has its say on all EU laws and decisions. • Initial contact - Joanne Tobin (Education Attaché) • Talked with Eugene Lennon (Health Attaché) - offered appt with incoming Deputy Permanent Representative & member of COREPER 1 • Talked with His Excellency Rory Montgomery (Ireland’s Permanent Representative)
Some other activities • Trying to secure new members, bring back former members, and retain current members • ‘One to one’ assistance/advice to members in response to requests – both Phil and me. • Regular Member Updates from Phil • Preparation of Briefing Notes on key issues as preparation for MEP meetings • Liaison with regulatory bodies i.e. IMB and FSAI • Updates on relevant scientific studies (positive and negative) • Rebuttals of negative/biased reporting of scientific studies • Ongoing liaison with EHPM and other national trade associations • Information Sharing Network • Informing members in relation to the VAT on supplements issue • Working with David James on challenging the IMB in relation to changes they made concerning their Herbal Substances Classification lists
Recent activity with the IMB • On 1 March 2011, the IMB published : (a) a list of Herbal substances which may be acceptable for inclusion in food supplements, and (b) a list of Herbal substances not permitted in foods or food supplements. • At the end of March 2011, the IHTA sent a submission to the IMB requesting that they add particular herbal/plant substances to their list of Herbal Substances which may be acceptable for inclusion in Food Supplements. • This was followed up by pointing out that 18 out of the 21 substances which the IHTA requested to be added to the IMB’s revised list were on the Italian Ministry of Health list. • The IMB added a number of substances to the ‘positive’ list and IHTA members appeared to be fairly “happy” with the outcome. • Recently, however, the IMB changed the content of their website entry on herbal substances and some IHTA members were not happy with the new content. • On 1 March, the IHTA sent a letter to the IMB expressing our concern about the IMB’s recent change in approach in relation to the determination of the status of products containing herbal ingredients. • We have also secured a meeting with the IMB in the near future.
Meetings/Conferences Attended • IHTA Executive Council meetings • IHTA ‘SIT’ meetings • EHPM Board meetings • European Parliament meeting on the THMPD • Some EHPM Health Claims Parliamentary Task Force Conference calls • Berlin Conference ‘The Regulation of Food Supplements in Europe’ • EHPM Council of Presidents’ meeting/AGM
IHTA/ISME Industry/Market Survey • The IHTA commissioned ISME to conduct a natural healthcare industry/market survey. • This survey was an attempt to derive valid and reliable key statistics pertaining to the natural healthcare industry in Ireland. • The questionnaire was sent to all IHTA members and 47 non-member companies. • For the results of this survey to be valid, a high response rate and representative sample of participants were important prerequisites. • Unfortunately, when the Executive Council closely examined the raw data collected by ISME, it was evident that neither of these 2 conditions was met. • Following reminders from ISME & me only 12 companies had returned completed questionnaires. • Despite this, the Executive Council considered various options in relation to extrapolating the data but had to discount each of these. • This was a major disappointment for the IHTA Executive Council and was undoubtedly also be a major disappointment for many companies in our sector, particularly those who invested the time and effort to complete and return the questionnaire.
These are the voyages of the IHTA. Its mission: to explore strange new opportunities, to seek out new developments and new allies, to boldly go where no national health trade association has gone before.
New development (a) – New MEP allies? Very recently EHPM revealed that Julie Girling MEP will be taking action to initiate a European Parliament (EP) Impact Assessment (IA) in relation to the Nutrition & Health Claims Regulation. Following some research I discovered that: • The EP very recently set up a ‘Legislative Assessment Directorate’ to conduct Impact Assessments • The new ‘Legislative Assessment Directorate’ includes a Supervisory Board of 13 MEPs, the aim of which will be to establish impact assessment priorities . • I proposed that EHPM immediately identify the 13 MEPs and begin to lobby them for a ‘EP’ Impact Assessment Response from EHPM Health Claims Task Force Chairman: • “We should identify the 13 MEPs” • “We should be ready to lobby them if necessary.” • “Girling is currently engaged in a sensitive cross party outreach exercise to build the support she needs to get an impact assessment approved ....... .......... We need to follow Julie Girling’s direction on this”
New development (b) – New ‘SME Envoys’ allies? • Very recently, I urged EHPM to urgently capitalize on the fact that there is now an EU SME Envoy in place, plus SME Envoys in each Member State, by getting their support to ensure that the ‘SME-test’ is part of any EP Impact Assessment on the NHCR. • I provided relevant information on this development including a description of the roles of these SME Envoys. • From minutes of very recent EHPM EP Task Force meeting: • “It was agreed that the task force would propose (to the EHPM Board) that EHPM tries to set up a meeting with the European Commission SME envoy” • My response to these minutes: • “I think we can be a lot more positive than is indicated by the words “tries to”. Part of the SME Envoy's role is to: “open up channels of communication between the Commission and SMEs, and their representative organisations.” • “The SME Envoys act as the contact persons for SMEs and SME organisations and industry sector federations (such as EHPM). • “We need to take the view that SME Envoys are there to serve us, as opposed to having a mindset characterised by thinking - ‘we should try to set up a meeting’.”
New development (c) – New allies in ALDE group? • Very recently I made EHPM aware that the ALDE Group had just launched a manifesto and a campaign to boost SMEs. • I provided information on this development . • I suggested that ALDE MEPs would be good targets to elicit support for a European Parliament IA in relation to Regulation 1924/2006/EC • I identified 10 ALDE MEPs who I considered would be promising initial contacts Response from EHPM Health Claims Task Force Chairman: • “Using the ALDE group’s push on SMEs to build support for our case in the Parliament is something that needs to be progressed.” • “As you have identified some key MEPs in ALDE that are pushing this initiative, we could/should approach them to explain to them how the implementation of the Health Claims Regulation fails to take into account the needs of SMEs.”
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ONGOING SUPPORT