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VISION The major goals for health in Europe are to improve the lifelong Europe faces an increasing number of major health challenges. A health and wellbeing of all Europeans. The idea is not just “to add positive message is that, thanks to improved health care, a drop in years to your life”, but “life to your years”. Improvements of this nature smoking rates and safer jobs, we live longer. In the coming decade, will also reduce overall healthcare costs. Consistent with this is a European health issues will focus on confronting an ageing popula- more holistic approach in evaluating the true cost of disease for soci- tion with an increasing number of people beyond retirement age. ety, including costs from the workplace (i.e. lost productivity) and thus This change in demographics will result in complex disease patterns, also the true value of investment in good and effi cient treatments. with multimorbidity, which necessitate a change in therapeutic ap- proaches from treatment through isolated (and often organ specifi c) To relieve the future burden on European society we need to specialities and subspecialities towards more comprehensive and strengthen bio-medical research and its implementation in clinical holistic approaches. Furthermore, we will face a growth in the practice. We have to rethink healthcare in ways that make it possi- incidence of physical disability, cardiovascular and neurological dis- ble, for example, for the elderly and other patients to maintain their eases, including dementia, and cancer. Moreover, emerging sensory quality of life and to stay in their own homes longer and hence out impairments, and especially hearing defi ciency will reduce not only of hospitals and nursing homes. quality of life but also how individuals can interact with society. NEEDS AND SOLUTIONS Poor dietary habits and a lack of physical activity also mean cop- Horizon 2020 will provide a positive and crucial instrument for ing with associated serious public health issues such as obesity. strengthening biomedical research in Europe. Biomedical research With about half of the population in Europe now considered is basic research in the laboratory. It is clinical patient oriented re- overweight or obese, the occurrence of diabetes and metabolic search using the results from basic research in patient studies. Trans- syndrome is on the rise. Reproductive health problems contribute to lational research is the bridge or link taking basic research results increasing need of artifi cial reproduction techniques and despite from the bench to the bedside and back. When clinical research advanced technology, infertility is an increasing problem. has been established as new treatment, implementation of this new treatment in clinical every day practice is needed. Another challenge is the emergence or reemergence of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance in Europe and the rest of the world. The role of environmental factors on disease, and more generally the role of lifestyle, is also increasingly recognised for its major impact on health. The escalating incidence of chronic infl am- matory conditions and allergy observed in industrialised countries is clearly linked to environmental and lifestyle factors, though some- BASIC RESEARCH what mediated through gene-environment interactions. Our ability to treat more conditions combined with people’s rising expectations toward the health care system means that health care expenditures will continue to be under pressure, thus increasing the gap between IMPLEMENTATION cost and economy. Consequently, these challenges require an even more effi cient and equitable healthcare system. TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH CLINICAL The evidence is overwhelming that investment in biomedical re- RESEARCH search yields economic returns both through improved health gains, e.g. a healthy workforce and healthy aging, and through commer- cial exploitation of research outputs. Investment in medical research has been shown to continually yield an annual fi nancial return of 39%. This means that appropriate funding and best practice for medical research are not only essential to securing health and welfare in Europe and the rest of the world, but also make sound economic sense. Correspondingly, health economics is a central instrument to link costs and health gain and to prove that research costs should be viewed as an investment. HEALTH 23


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