Topics - People & Health

People & Health

The pharmaceutical industry’s top priority has always been the health of patients.  Today, many of us enjoy better health in large part due to the diligence of hard-working scientists, clinical teams and business people.  While patients and the healthcare sector face unprecedented changes due to an ageing population and tighter healthcare budgets in Europe, the pharmaceutical industry must continue advancing research and innovation, so that future generations can also expect to have their lives transformed for the better. 

The hope of advancing science and helping patients has always been the driving force for the pharmaceutical industry. As innovation takes us closer to personalising medicines and we take strides to making the medicines supply chain safer, we are also looking to help Europe handle the challenges of an ageing population by engaging in the European Union’s flagship Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing.  While looking to the future, we also want to today’s patients to get the most out of current treatments, by improving health literacy as well as access to medicines. To do we must continue to innovate not only in laboratories but also by combining our expertise with new information technologies.

Over the past decade, the pharmaceutical industry has expanded its activities aimed at improving the lives of people. This work extends way beyond Europe’s borders.  The industry has pledged to donate the medicines needed to help eradicate diseases that disproportionately affect people living in tropical parts of the globe until 2020.  Today, EFPIA member companies have an increaslingly strong track record of improving health in the developing world, through funding R&D for neglected diseases, health awareness programmes, investments in infrastructures, and training for healthcare professionals. These companies provide resources and expertise for many global health partnerships, join schemes and share their early scientific discoveries for all scientists to use.  While further progress is still needed to address today’s global health challenges, especially in relation to diseases of the developing world and the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases in developing countries, the pharmaceutical industry today is clearly engaged as part of the solution.

How incremental innovation helps patients with lung cancer

Patients with non-small cell lung cancer, living near Winchester in the UK, needed to make a 50km/30-mile trip to Southampton to receive chemotherapy. The chemotherapy regimen required long preparation and administration times and patients would often still be in the clinic at 7 or 8 o’clock at night. Switching these patients to an innovative oral treatment offering efficacy equivalent to the infusion resulted in fewer hospital visits and produced fewer hospitalisations due to adverse events. Continual pharmaceutical investment to develop innovative treatments does not only benefit patients – in terms of outcomes and quality of life – but also contributes to making the provision of healthcare more effective.