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Loeber J.G.,National Institute for Public Health RIVM | Burgard P.,University of Heidelberg | Cornel M.C.,VU University Amsterdam | Rigter T.,VU University Amsterdam | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease | Year: 2012

In many European countries neonatal screening has been introduced over the last 50 years as an important public health programme. Depending on health care structure, available funds, local politics, input from professional groups, parent groups, and the general public this introduction has led to different approaches in the way the screening programmes have been set up, financed and governed. To get some insight about the current situation, in 2009 the European Union, via its EAHC agency, put out a call for a tender that was acquired by our project group. An online survey was compiled in which the whole screening programme was covered by a questionnaire. This survey covered the EU member states, (potential) candidate member states and EFTA countries, in total 40 countries. Results showed little consensus concerning 1. information of parents including informed consent; 2. which conditions are screened for, ranging from 1 to around 30 conditions; 3. sampling time post partum; 4. screening methodology including cut-offs values even between screening laboratories within countries.; 5. storage of residual specimens, varying from 3 months to 1000 years. In addition, confirmatory diagnostics and follow-up also show large discrepancies (Burgard et al. http://www.iss.it/cnmr/prog/cont.php?id= 1621&lang=1&tipo=64 2011). In addition to the current practices report an expert opinion document has been produced with recommendations to the EU Commission for future improvements, e.g. in parallel to the way the USA has harmonized its practices based on recommendations by the American College of Medical Genetics (Watson et al., Pediatrics 117: S296-S307, 2006). © SSIEM and Springer 2012.

Cornel M.C.,VU University Amsterdam | Rigter T.,VU University Amsterdam | Weinreich S.S.,VU University Amsterdam | Burgard P.,University of Heidelberg | And 6 more authors.
European Journal of Human Genetics | Year: 2014

The European Union (EU) Council Recommendation on rare diseases urged the member states to implement national and EU collaborative actions to improve the health care of rare disease patients. Following this recommendation, the European Commission launched a tender on newborn screening (NBS) to report on current practices of laboratory testing, form a network of experts and provide guidance on how to further implement NBS screening in a responsible way, the latter of which was provided in an Expert Opinion document. After consultation of experts from EU member states, (potential) candidate member states and European Free Trade Association countries, in a consensus meeting in June 2011, 70 expert opinions were finalized. They included the need to develop case definitions for all disorders screened for to facilitate assessment and international outcome studies. Decision whether a screening program should be performed can be based on screening criteria updated from the traditional Wilson and Jungner (1968) criteria, relating to disease, treatment, test and cost. The interest of the child should be central in the assessment of pros and cons. A European NBS body should assess evidence on (new) screening candidate disorders. For rare conditions, best level evidence should be used. The health system should ensure treatment to cases diagnosed by screening, controlled and revised by follow-up outcome studies. Screening methodology should aim to avoid unintended findings, such as mild forms and carrier status information, as much as possible. Activities to improve NBS in Europe, such as training and scientific evaluation, could benefit from collaboration at EU level and beyond. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

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