Priority Medicines for Europe and the World 2013 Update. Chapter 9 - Summary of Observations, Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendations
(2013; 15 pages)

The 2004 Report Priority Medicines for Europe and the World determined the priority needs for pharmaceutical innovation from a public health perspective and made policy and research recommendations to address these needs. Within this public health context, a key objective throughout the 2004 Report has been the need to identify common areas of interest between Europe and the world as a whole, particularly in the area of discovering and developing new and improved medicines to combat diseases and conditions which pose a current or future threat to public health. This updated 2013 Report has the same objectives. It is important to acknowledge that medicines are of course not the only intervention to prevent, treat and diagnose diseases. In this report, vaccines and diagnostics have therefore also been identified as potential priority areas.

The objectives of this report must be set against a backdrop of the key demographic changes that are transforming the global disease burden (Chapter 5). Low- and middle-income countries are currently facing a shift in their disease burden from one that is dominated by communicable diseases towards one dominated by chronic noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). This change has profound implications for health care systems and the development of innovative medicines. These changing disease burdens are entirely predictable. The key drivers are both demographic and epidemiological and include factors such as the ageing population and changes in risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use as well as obesity which are leading to the increasing prevalence of chronic NCDs. As a result, health systems in many low- and middle-income countries will face a double burden of disease, as NCDs add to the existing burden of communicable diseases and reproductive health problems addressed in the Millennium Development Goals 4, 5 and 6.

While the first part of the report, Chapters 1 to 6, identifies high-burden diseases and substantial risk factors for which pharmaceutical gaps exist, Chapter 7 takes a more holistic approach and looks at common themes around children, women, the elderly and the new concept of stratified medicine. Chapter 8 builds on work done in the 2004 Report to identify incentive systems for pharmaceutical innovation in Europe, that increase efficiency and equity and involve patients and citizens in key decisions that affect them. The chapter suggests multiple approaches for addressing identified pharmaceutical gaps, including through proposed incentives for the pharmaceutical industry.

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