Integrating personalised medicine into Europe’s healthcare systems will undoubtedly need to draw upon diverse talents via a multi-stakeholder approach taking expertise from academia, industry, healthcare organisations, government, policymakers nd, of course, patient groups. It will also need a long-term budget commitment geared towards stimulating research and innovation in order to succeed. The role of HTA also needs to be boosted, while EU engagement in health needs to increase, not decrease, and requires a long-term strategy to provide a structure, a framework, and a consensus. Health equals wealth and the authors argue here that investment in research and innovation, alongside laws and rules that are fit-for-purpose and reflect the swiftly changing world of medicine, are vital. Europe needs to grasp these points at every level for the benefit of the millions of potential patients spread across the soon-to-be 27 Member States.
"A new vision of patient centered drug development is critical. It should be articulated around understanding the biology of the tumor and the patient as well as developing clinically relevant therapeutic strategies for patients such as but not limited to optimal duration of treatment and appropriate combinations or sequences", states author Denis Lacombe of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Headquarters (EORTC) and HARMONY Alliance Partner. "Re-engineering the process of clinical research optimising the role and expertise of all stakeholders, including that of independent research networks should be a European priority towards new health care systems".
The dramatic improvement in the health of the citizens of Europe over the last two centuries has transformed the continent and the lives of the people living in it. But is Europe able to seize the new benefits that science, technology and forward-thinking public-policy decisions could confer on current and future generations of Europeans – or is it losing the will and capacity to grasp the fruits of progress? Courageous social reforms since the 19th century in everything from sanitation and housing to education and welfare created the conditions in which the inventiveness and dedication of physicians, surgeons, biologists, chemists and pharmacologists could bring new forms of medical treatment to the sick. The insatiable curiosity of scientists and technologists opened up new paths to the understanding and preservation of health. And the spirit of enterprise among researchers and industrialists turned new ideas into new medicines, devices and procedures. Is Europe now stalling? Its science and technology are certainly not.
Healthcare professionals still have a powerful sense of dedication. And research and industry function at an unprecedentedly high rhythm. What is missing from the picture is an overarching vision of how to – or even whether to – exploit all that potential. And as a result, for all the advances made, deep inequalities and unexploited opportunities disfigure the landscape of European health. It needs no more than a cursory glance at
the metrics of life expectancy and morbidity and access to care to reveal the wide disparities between Europe’s citizens – depending on where they live or their level of income or the nature of their disease. And the continuing lack of hope for the millions of Europe’s patients suffering from what is termed, with chilling detachment, “unmet need” is an indictment of the torpor that has overtaken much of Europe’s erstwhile energy to find solutions. In an ironic reflection of Europe’s current divergences on political persuasion, the panorama of health in Europe is strongly characterised by haves and have-nots. So much could be done, not just to equalise the provision of healthcare, but to enrich it so that everyone’s chances of health and
quality of life are improved. The opportunity is there.
Other authors are HARMONY Alliance Partners:
Source: Biomed Hub 2017 / S. Karger.
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