Priority Medicines for Europe and the World 2013 Update. Chapter 7 - Cross-cutting Themes
(2013; 16 pages)


This chapter reports on a number of issues which apply to all diseases and therapeutic approaches. The themes include the particular needs of special groups and the development of stratified medicine. The special groups highlighted in this chapter are the same as those covered in the 2004 Priority Medicines Report: children, women and the elderly. Although progress has been made in some areas, special attention for these populations is still warranted. Each of these groups have specific pharmaceutical needs due to their changing physiology, the spectrum of diseases they face, and the fact that these needs are under-represented in the pharmaceutical development process. While similar issues exist for these groups, particular needs have been identified and will be discussed below. An important cross-cutting theme that has been identified throughout this chapter is the need for better use of existing data (electronic health records) to provide insight into, and assess the implications of medicines use in these special patient groups (see also Chapter 8.4).

Stratified medicine is expected to play an increasingly important role in clinical treatment in the coming decades. Stratified medicine can be summarized as an approach targeting treatment specifically to subpopulations of patients who are more likely to benefit from, or less likely to be harmed by a particular treatment. Many different strata exist, including the special populations addressed in this chapter. New elements in stratified medicine, such as pharmacogenomics and other new technologies are rapidly evolving. Up until now, despite all the projected benefits of this approach, clinical implementation in health care systems has been limited, and various gaps remain at the level of basic research, translational studies and the establishment of societal and regulatory frameworks.

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