Re-assessing disease prevention and health promotion in Europe in the face of increasing budgetary challenges
€1 invested in adult immunisation in those aged over 50 would yield €4.02 in healthcare savings over a lifetime. These are the results suggested by a study on how investing in adult immunisation in the Netherlands can impact healthcare financing, presented by Mark Connolly, CEO GMAS Consultancy. This was one of the compelling pieces of evidence driving the discussion at last week’s conference “Investing in Health through Prevention: Towards Health & Growth”, organised by Vaccines Europe.
Vaccines Europe president, Andrea Rappagliosi said that “at a time of budget cuts and increasing challenges faced by healthcare systems, there is a need to re-think the way healthcare is delivered and maximise opportunities for preventing diseases before their onset.” He stated that “prevention should not be regarded as a cost but as an opportunity for investment that provides long term public health and financial benefits”.
The GMAS study mentioned above comes as part of a EU Report Card consolidating existing research on the incidence of key vaccine-preventable diseases in Europe for the adult and elderly population, commissioned by the Supporting Active Ageing Through Immunisation (SAATI) Partnership, which will be launched in the European Parliament on 13 November 2013. SAATI is a coalition of healthcare professionals, academics and patient advocating that vaccination should be part of an age-based approach to health, as stressed by Daphne Holt, SAATI Steering Committee member and Vice President of the Confederation of Meningitis Organisations.
John Ryan, acting Director at DG SANCO referred to the recent Commission document on “Investing in Health” and mentioned that the financial crisis had put additional pressure on healthcare systems: The 3% reported to be spent on prevention had decreased after the crisis. He acknowledged that the importance given to disease prevention and health promotion needs to be reassessed.
David Morgan, Head of Health Accounts at the OECD, confirmed that trends of spending in prevention in Europe have been impacted by the economic crisis. He mentioned that across OECD countries, under 3% of the healthcare budget is spent on prevention of which an estimated 10-15% is spent on vaccination. He is of the opinion that there is a need not only to protect funding for public health but to increase consistency in prevention spending.
A panel session “Investing in prevention through immunisation: how to make it happen” brought together decision makers, patient advocates, healthcare professional and industry representatives, to discuss the role of immunisation in prevention. DG SANCO’s John Ryan reminded the panel that, in order to make progress, a clearer and more defined strategy on vaccine policy in Europe needed to be set up. The panel concluded that improving the current situation will require a multi-stakeholder approach, with the cooperation of diverse stakeholders in the healthcare field.
About Vaccines Europe. Vaccines Europe is a specialised vaccines group within the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), the professional association of the pharmaceutical industry in Europe. Formed in 1991, Vaccines Europe represents innovative research-based global vaccine companies operating in Europe. Companies represented within Vaccines Europe are involved in research and development (R&D), clinical trials, production and marketing of vaccines and are dedicated to improving public health through immunisation. The Vaccines Europe members are: Abbott Biologicals, Crucell, GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines, MedImmune, ImmBio, MSD, Novartis Vaccines, Pfizer Vaccines, Sanofi Pasteur, Sanofi Pasteur MSD, Takeda and Vaxeal. More information on Vaccines Europe is available here.
About the SAATI Partnership. The SAATI Partnership was set up by stakeholders committed to tackling low public awareness of the risk and burden of vaccine-preventable diseases in older adults in Europe and comprises patients’ and professionals’ associations, clinicians, think tanks, healthy ageing specialists and experts. More information on the partnership is available here.
About the SAATI EU Report Card. The SAATI EU Report Card was commissioned by the SAATI partners with Pfizer financial support and conducted independently. The report analyses gaps in current adult immunisation practices in the EU27 and demonstrate the benefits of a life-course approach to vaccination looking at 7 vaccine-preventable diseases: influenza, pneumonia, invasive pneumococcal disease, Herpes zoster, pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria. The report will be launched in the European Parliament on 13 November in collaboration with Vaccines Europe.
More information on the Vaccines Europe Day Public Conference is available here.