EuropaBio: Supporting World Health Day and healthy ageing

06.04.2012

 

EuropaBio- Supporting World Health Day and healthy ageing

 

This year, April 7th marks World Health Day with the befitting theme of ‘ageing and health’. As the global population reaches more than 7 billion people, healthy ageing has never before been so important to governments, society and the healthcare industry. An ageing population poses societal challenges that are both increasing and intensifying over time. In this context, it will be crucial to step up the discovery and deployment of treatments and diagnostics to prevent and address diseases that particularly affect an ageing population. Through innovation and a multi-disciplinary approach, biotechnology is playing, and will continue to play a central role in providing solutions to these challenges.


Biotechnology is pivotal to current healthcare solutions and healthy ageing. More than 350 million patients have already benefited from approved medicines manufactured through biotechnology to treat or prevent illnesses such as neuro-degenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, cancers, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and osteoporosis. In fact, it is estimated that by 2014, 50% of the top 100 drugs globally will be biotech medicines.


An ageing population deserves access to the most innovative, modern and precise treatments available. However, this can only be made possible if these crucial developments in the healthcare biotechnology sector are coupled with coherent, holistic and supportive policy measures to ensure timely access to the most innovative treatments for patients. While progress continues to be made at an EU level, it is essential that Member States follow suite so that a truly patient-centred healthcare system is in place.


Over the past number of years the global financial crisis has had a dramatic and negative impact on the healthcare biotechnology industry by limiting finance available to healthcare SMEs and also due to budget cuts by national governments. It is essential for governments to realise that cost containment should not be made at the expense of public health, nor should it hamper the potential of biotechnology to provide life changing solutions. 

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