With the help of health experts, and commissioned by the European Commission, the WHO report identified “pharmaceutical gaps”: diseases of public health importance for which pharmaceutical treatments either do not exist or are inadequate.[photo: European Commission]
The report provides a public-health-based medicines development agenda, based on a systematic methodology for priority setting. National and European policies relevant to the European pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries will be influenced by the report’s recommendations. It will also provide important input to health-related policy development and research & innovation, including international cooperation.
The report is an update to the original 2004 Report Priority Medicines for Europe and the World and takes into account changes in global health and pharmaceutical innovation since 2004 in order to better address current and future patient needs.
In 2013 the European Commission requested that the report be updated as a resource to be used in planning the Horizon 2020 combined research programme for the European Union. The primary audience for the 2013 Update are the decision-makers working in the European Commission, Parliament, and Council who will be responsible for defining the Horizon 2020 Programme.
What are the priorities?
Twenty-four diseases and disease groups have been prioritised, and reasons for their inclusion are detailed in the report. Diseases were selected on the basis of burden of disease and mortality ranking, projections, social solidarity and risk factors. The following diseases were selected, based on:
- burden of disease and mortality ranking: ischaemic heart disease, diabetes, cancer, acute stroke, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, Alzheimer disease and other dementias, osteoarthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, alcohol use disorders and alcoholic liver disease, hearing loss, depression, diarrhoea, pneumonia, neonatal conditions and low back pain.
- projections: antimicrobial drug resistance, pandemic influenza.
- social solidarity: rare diseases, postpartum haemorrhage, neglected tropical diseases
- risk factors: tobacco use, obesity.
While listing COPD as the subject of a Priority Medicine research, WHO sends a strong signal to the European institutions which are presently negioting the European research programme, “Horizon 2020“.