Innovative medicines are essential to building better health systems across Europe, suggests new study

February 10, 2003

Brussels, 07 Feb 2003

According to a recently published study, the development and better application of innovative medicines are both essential to improving health care systems throughout Europe.

The study, which was carried out by Professor Schöffski on behalf of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), also revealed a current lack of recognition and erratic use of innovative medicines among Member States' health care systems.

'The pharmaceutical industry has developed many innovative medicines. These medicines are able to extend the life expectancy of patients to increase their quality of life,' said Professor Schöffski.

However, the findings of the study showed that while there are innovative medicines available for the 20 diseases studied, patients are receiving outdated medicines which are less effective or have more severe side effects. In some cases, some patients were not given any treatment at all.

Such findings not only suggest the worrying nature of the current health systems in Europe, but also imply a lack of understanding and interest in the value of innovative medicines which could, in turn, have repercussions on the further funding of research and development in the area of innovative pharmaceuticals.

'Pharmaceutical innovations are not a threat to European health care systems, but an opportunity,' argues Professor Schöffski.

The study suggests that by developing and implementing innovative medicines, health care systems can become more cost effective: Higher investment is compensated by improved life expectancy of patients.

Professor Schöffski believes that to stimulate the application of such medicines, patients and health professionals should be better informed of the all the treatments available.

According to Professor Schöffski, 'there is also a general lack of recognition of the value of medicines by EU decision-makers.'

Furthermore, he argues that the pharmaceutical industry has to address the price differences between new medicines and older treatments which inevitably leads to the use of older therapeutic principles for a longer time.

'The need for high quality medicines should be recognised to a greater extent. And modern medicines should be available to every patient as quickly as possible across Europe,' said Professor Schöffski.

For further information, please visit the following web address:

CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities

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