Priority Medicines for Europe and the World 2013 Update. Background Paper 1 - Introduction
(2013; 21 pages)


Priority Medicines for Europe and the World was commissioned by the Dutch Government as president of the European Union (EU) in 2003. The Report identified a priority list of medicines for Europe and the rest of the world, taking into account Europe's ageing population, the increasing burden of non-communicable illnesses in developing countries and diseases which persist in spite of the availability of effective treatments. The report looked at the gaps in research and innovation for these medicines and provides specific policy options on creating incentives and for closing those gaps.

The report identified gaps for diseases for which treatments do not exist, are inadequate, or are not reaching patients. Threats to public health such as antibacterial resistance or pandemic influenza, for which present treatments or preventive measures are unlikely to be effective in the future, were described. The report suggested that Europe can and should play a global leadership role in public health, as reflected by its history of social services provision and social safety nets for all citizens. The report maintained that where the market is strong and the problem is poor, understanding of the basic biology of the disease, inadequate investment in basic and translational research and in facilitating innovation by the pharmaceutical industry will be needed. Where the biology is well understood but the market is weak, public support for breaching the gap between basic and clinical research — possibly through public-private partnerships and other not-for-profit product development initiatives — was identified as the preferred solution. Where the biology is not well understood and there is also a weak market, then biological research can be supported while market incentives are created for the pharmaceutical industry, through reducing barriers to innovation and through improving reimbursement rewards.

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