No exclusion for Europe’s patients

| January 15, 2015 | 0 Comments

Biobanking_pg26Opinion by European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM) Executive Director Denis Horgan

With the shocking events in Paris recently, talk across Europe – and, indeed, the world – has turned yet again to topics that include social exclusion, whether real or perceived, and in whatever arena.

There is clearly a lack of communication, understanding and, arguably, education on all sides in the world today and, while not wishing to make a direct comparison with the terrible occurrences in France, this is also the case in the world of health.  Many of the EU’s 500 million citizens across 28 member states are, and will be, patients suffering from one disease or another (and, sometimes, several).

In many cases, these patients are denied the right treatment at the right time through a variety of reasons, and this situation is not only bad for the patient but is also bad for society in general, morally and financially.  Keeping patients in the workplace and out of expensive hospital beds will bring about a healthier and, thus wealthier, society.  In the fast-changing world of health, and with the amazing options that DNA- and biomarker-based personalised medicine has brought to the table in recent years, there is no excuse for citizens to be denied the best treatment available.

Yet this happens every day in every country in the EU.  One issue is a lack of integration in health care. Too many stakeholders still operate within their own silos, bunkered down and rarely taking a look at what is happening elsewhere, outside of – yet possibly connected to – their own area of expertise. This must change, and quickly. 

Most health-care systems in Europe still operate on individual, old-fashioned lines yet, with much-greater collaborations between those systems, and the different disciplines inside and outside, much more could be done to use new medicines and treatments to combat newly discovered and rarer diseases as well as the older and better-known afflictions.  While it is true that the European Union does not hold competence when it comes to health care in member states, the EU has, through lawmaking, begun to have more and more influence.

The next step is to help bring about better coordination between countries in order to ensure that patients have their say on all matters affecting their health choices, treatment options and quality of life.  This should be regardless of which member state they live in and which country they ate being treated in. 

Generally speaking, the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine – EAPM – believes that the EU’s policymakers should look to developing policies that are inclusive and targeted to avoid exclusion of any patient, with whatever disease, anywhere in Europe.  Essentially, in order to have the best service for all of the EU’s patients, there is, as well as more collaboration, a pressing need for more and continued investment in the area of personalised medicine? 

With new technologies and the availability of Big Data, better communications and computer processing power, state-of-the-art IVDs with companion diagnostics, and the possibility of better education among patients and health care workers, there is a clear opportunity to deliver higher-quality health care for all, excluding absolutely no one.  EAPM will continue to work towards this ultimate goal in 2015 and beyond.


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Category: A Frontpage, EU, EU, European Alliance for Personalised Medicine, Health, Opinion, Personalised medicine

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