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Public Health Genomics. 2013;16(6):278-87. doi: 10.1159/000355932. Epub 2014 Feb 3.

EUROPLAN: a project to support the development of national plans on rare diseases in Europe.

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National Center for Rare Diseases, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.



National Plans for Rare Diseases (RDs) are the common denominator of current public health policy concerns on RDs across the EU. With the aim of a better distribution of the available resources, they conjugate the European objective that aims at ensuring that patients with RDs have access to high-quality care - including diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation - with the national priorities of selecting specific measures for adoption and implementation.


The European Project for Rare Diseases National Plans Development (EUROPLAN, is cofunded by the EU Commission (DG-SANCO) and is coordinated by the Italian National Center for Rare Diseases of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS). The EUROPLAN goal is to promote the implementation of National Plans or Strategies to tackle RDs and share relevant experiences within countries, linking national efforts, through a common strategy at a European level. In order to fulfill these objectives, EUROPLAN involved health authorities, clinicians, scientists, the European Organisation for Rare Diseases (EURORDIS), and many other patient groups as associated and collaborating partners from several European countries.


The project was launched in 2008 and foresaw 2 implementation phases: phase 1 (2008-2011) to build the consensus definition of operational tools (recommendations and indicators), and the ongoing phase 2 (2012-2015), mainly aimed at capacity building with the proactive involvement of multilevel stakeholders. EUROPLAN is facilitating and accelerating the implementation of National Plans in almost all EU and several non-EU Countries.


EUROPLAN is a European and an international process more than a project, and it could be defined as a 'litmus test' demonstrating how the collaboration between institutions and patients' associations can accelerate the process of awareness and development of policies and actions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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