Medicines have become the essential instrument of modern healthcare systems in the fight against disease and health care. This was made clear at a symposium organised by the newspaper El Español, with the collaboration of Farmaindustria, where representatives of patients’ associations, researchers and experts in health economics debated the link between health, the economy and the well-being of society.
Major advances in the last three decades have made it possible to cure diseases with a high burden of morbidity and mortality such as hepatitis C, to convert previously fatal pathologies such as HIV/AIDS into chronic diseases, to change the prognosis of serious diseases such as rheumatological diseases or multiple sclerosis, or to substantially improve the survival rates of different types of cancer. Lorena López, a multiple sclerosis patient and president of the Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Associations of Castilla y León (Facalem) highlighted how in the case of her pathology “the new treatments have radically changed our quality of life”. For example, he said, we used to be advised not to get pregnant because of the effect on our bodies and now, thanks to the new drugs, this fear has disappeared”.
Elena Garralda, oncologist and director of the Molecular Therapy Research Unit at Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona, said that research “is the only way to advance in medicine. Cancer, for example, is not going to be cured with a single drug from one day to the next. We have to take small steps day by day, and all advances are important.
Manuel García Goñi, Professor of Health Economics at the Complutense University of Madrid, also took part in the colloquium and said that few industries can bring added value to society as much as the pharmaceutical industry. “The best example of this is the impact on life expectancy and quality of life provided by new medicines,” he said. The director of Farmaindustria’s Research Department, Pedro Luis Sánchez, also spoke along these lines, highlighting that “in the last decade, up to 73% of the increase in life expectancy in developed countries has been due to new medicines”.
You can watch the full conference here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhBx-fU_KvA&t=2s