Priority Medicines for Europe and the World 2013 Update. Background Paper 7 - Cross-cutting Themes. BP 7.3 - Priority Medicines for Elderly
(2013; 66 pages)


This cross-cutting background paper addresses special needs in the treatment of elderly patients that may not be covered in other parts of the Priority Medicines for Europe and the World Report and depicts developments since the previous edition of this report in 2004. These specific needs are a result of changing physiology over the course of their lifetime, the spectrum of diseases that the elderly face, the fact that they are often left out of the drug development process, and that, in daily practice, medicine use in the elderly is complicated as a result of many factors, such as polypharmacy.

People aged 60 and older are a growing part of both European and global communities. The proportion of the global population aged 60 and over will increase to more than 16% in 2030. In Europe, the growth of the elderly population is more pronounced. Demographics are further characterised by decreased fertility rates and increased life expectancy, with women living longer than men.

The diversity of older people is one factor contributing to their complex health issues and care needs. This paper describes three common conditions in the elderly that were not (fully) covered in other background papers: osteoporosis (including falls), cancer, and vascular dementia.

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