The healthcare community, including patients, faces challenging times with the sustainability of our healthcare systems. The total number of people aged above 65 is forecasted to grow by more than 50 million by 2050,1 creating new needs and challenges in addressing the healthy and active ageing process. In parallel, the number of people affected by chronic diseases across all age groups is steadily increasing2 and despite the recent slowdown in pharmaceutical spending growth, the high cost of new specialty medicines for diseases like cancer and hepatitis will likely cause spending to rise again, says the OECD.3
New innovative treatments are reaching the healthcare community, offering new hope to patients. However their financing represents a real challenge in terms of equitable access in a context where healthcare budgets are barely succeeding in the face of current needs of patients. OECD data shows that new specialty medicines are expected to account for 50% or more of pharmaceutical spending growth within the next five years.4
If one aims at ensuring universal access to healthcare by addressing the sustainability challenge of need outpacing budget growth, changes are needed and, as main healthcare partners, it is our responsibility to react today. The healthcare system must adapt its mechanisms and research focus to respond to these sustainability and access challenges. There are opportunities to address this situation which should be explored. Sustainability can be achieved in different ways, including through more efficient use of healthcare resources.
The WHO estimates that between 20 to 40 percent of healthcare spending is inefficiently allocated, either through unnecessary or non-cost effective services. For example, it is estimated that lack of adherence costs the European system around €125 bn a year. Addressing the adherence challenge could be a significant step to ensure better outcomes to patients and the healthcare communities, supporting system sustainability.
Healthcare inefficiencies represent opportunities to rethink and optimise current health delivery systems as well as reinvent current therapies in a context where patients are more empowered on all aspects of their health and related well-being. In this frame, the Value Added Medicines Group comes forward with an answer to bring innovative healthcare while preserving system sustainability.
1 IMS Institute report: Bringing Healthy Living to Ageing Citizens: The Role of Technology, June 2014
3 OECD – Health at a Glance, 2015
4 OECD – Health at a Glance, 2015