The American Chamber of Commerce to the EU (AmCham EU), the business voice for companies of American parentage in Europe, has published a new report analysing the social and economic benefits of investing in healthcare.
The report comes at a time when many of Europe’s countries are grappling to reconcile growing consumer demands for improved healthcare with demographic changes and constrained healthcare budgets.
Speaking on behalf of AmCham EU at a seminar in Brussels to launch the Report, GE Healthcare’s Head of European Government and Public Policy, David Boyd, stressed that Governments and policymakers had to resist the temptation to cut services and ration access. “Efficiency is the new buzz word” he said, “but efficiency should not be misinterpreted as meaning 'reduced spending', 'rationing' or 'cuts'. Instead, efficiencies need to be achieved through continued investment in healthcare, specifically in technologies, therapies, solutions and ways of working that enable quality healthcare to be delivered to more people, faster, simpler and more effectively from both a clinical and financial perspective.”
The report contends that the EU has a major role to play in helping to deliver ‘Health for Growth’ – the European Commission’s new strategy for better health and economic growth. It says the EU’s own money needs to be invested in smarter ways to improve healthcare delivery in geographic areas which lag behind European averages for health investment and outcomes, while R&D funds need to address health system improvements rather than just medical research.
“The EU needs to consider the needs and long term competitiveness of the healthcare industries in Europe when framing new legislation and regulation” said Boyd. “Major revisions to directives on medical devices, in vitro diagnostics, clinical trials and pharmaceutical pricing transparency are all underway this year and need to ensure patient safety without placing undue burden on Europe’s healthcare sector.”
At the conclusion of the launch event, Robert Madelin, Director General of DG INFSO, the European Commission’s department in charge of ehealth and Healthcare IT, presented his thoughts on how transatlantic cooperation between Europe and the USA was progressing in the area of interoperability, and called for closer public-private cooperation to help speed up the uptake of eHealth solutions in Europe.
Panel at AmCham EU (left to right): David Boyd,GE Healthcare’s Head of European Government and Public Policy; Pascal Garel, HOPE (European Hospitals); Isabel de la Mata, Public Health DG SANCO; Peterlis Zilgalvis, Head of eHealth DG INFSO; Alexander Roediger, moderator, MSD Europe.