Patrick Ahern recently assumed the position of Director General of the European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM). An Irish national with a Masters Degree in European Integration, Patrick has been working professionally in EU Affairs in Brussels since 2005 in a variety of roles – EU Affairs Manager for a global food supplement company, Associate Partner and Manager at two public affairs consultancies, in addition to three years' experience of trade association management.
Responding to his appointment, Mr Ahern commented:
"I am very excited about my role in implementing the vision for EHPM's new operating structure that has been put in place by the EHPM board and endorsed by our members. In establishing our own office in Brussels and organising the association's work through working groups, we aim to fully leverage the expertise in each of our national associations."
EHPM has established 4 working groups (Quality, Technical, Communications and Botanicals), that will meet regularly at the new EHPM office in Brussels. The initial meetings of the Quality and Technical working groups have already taken place and by early June all working groups will have met for the first time. Mr Ahern stressed that providing quality input into the policy making process will continue to be a strong feature of EHPM moving forward:
"From the initial meetings of our working groups, it is clear that there is much work to be done across a range of areas. Fortunately, our members are very enthusiastic about our new structure, and we will shortly have an ambitious work programme in place for all our working groups."
In relation to the ongoing debate on the botanicals issue, Mr Ahern emphasised that he will be working in collaboration with the EHPM Chairman to foster a constructive dialogue with all parties:
"The Commission has put some options on the table for how to deal with the botanicals issue. For consistency with other areas of EU legislation and in order to create a workable environment for our industry, option 2b is the preferred solution. EHPM recently adopted a position paper on this issue, and we are in the process of organising a workshop in the European Parliament on 27 June to facilitate the debate on this topic."
EHPM and its national member associations will be communicating EHPM's position on botanicals to the European Institutions and national authorities extensively in the coming months and look forward to engaging fully in the debate on this and all issues of importance to the food supplement industry.
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