27 Sep 2019
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About the EAPM Presidency Conference
Policymakers are vital to take personalised medicine forward and allow it to live up to its potential. Engaging with MEPs (old and new) as well as the incoming Commission will be key to future progress.
The EU Executive and the European Parliament have a huge role to play and, for its part, EAPM is determined to make sure that the issues for the future of Europe’s healthcare systems are thoroughly understood. The 2019 conference will be an important part of that process.
For example, without coherent policy - on the back of stakeholder engagement - innovation may not occur or, if it does, it may cost more. This is a situation Europe cannot afford with its ageing population and cash-strapped healthcare systems.
Policymakers need to be aware of all the issues, as well as the burgeoning opportunities.
Achievements have been notable in recent years (not least through the work of EAPM and its partners), with personalised medicine sailing into the mainstream. But the momentum created over the last years needs to be bolstered and boosted as we move into the next legislative period. MEPs, the next Commission, as well as EU Member State government health ministers, are key to this.
There are a host of issues to cover at the Presidency Conference, not least the fact that while improved health strategies and pharmaceuticals have extended the average lifespan of EU citizens, this has the downside that older people usually suffer from more than one chronic disease at a time, leading to an often permanent loss of health in their latter years. This is detrimental to quality of life and a clear burden on already stretched healthcare systems.
On the upside, of course, it’s better healthcare provision that has brought about this increase in life expectancy. These days, if we take any particular age (within reason), people are more healthy than in the past and fewer die at a given age. So this offsets the healthcare spending and other death-related costs, at least to a degree.
Generally speaking, policy- and law-makers need to get up-to-speed with the developing technologies surrounding personalised medicine, investment opportunities, education of healthcare professionals, and providing the right treatment to the right patient at the right time, not least as part of the EU’s social contract.