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PRESS RELEASE: Warsaw forum tackles personalised medicine on the ground in Poland

Published on 06 March 2018 back to previous

Warsaw, Poland, March 5th, 2018: The Brussels-based European Alliance for Personalised Medicine, or EAPM, is to-day (Monday 5 March) playing a key role in the 3rd International Forum on Person-alised Medicine in Warsaw, Poland. 

The event, entitled ‘Personalised Medicine - a Milestone on the Way to Value Based Healthcare. Where Are We and Where We Are Heading?’ is taking place at the Olympic Center of the Polish Olympic Committee, in the country’s capital.

The conference is being held under the patronage of Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Science and Higher Education, Jarosław Gowin. 

The Polish Alliance on Personalised Medicine will also play a major part in the event. It was established three-year-ago as part of EAPM’s Outreach strategy which aims to have a solid presence at national level. Activities in Poland have been many and the collaboration is going from strength-to-strength.

Further national presences exist in Italy, where EAPM’s Congress will take place at the end of November,. Meanwhile, Bulgaria which currently holds the EU Presiden-cy, will host an Alliance-led lung cancer screening conference on 23 April.

The Outreach collaboration strategy is also particularly strong in Romania, Spain and Ireland. 

In Poland, EAPM’s executive director Denis Horgan will be emphasising at a political level that Europe as a whole needs more and better early diagnosis via the use of the fast-developing field of genome sequencing.

Horgan will also emphasise the need to put the patient at the centre of his or her own healthcare decisions in accordance with the over-arching goals of personalised medicine.

The sessions at the Warsaw conference will cover such topics as the role of perso-nalised medicine in Poland’s health system, taking into account movements in on-cology, clinical research, legal aspects, the added value of personalised treatments, and an assessment of what is ‘value’, from an economic perspective. 

Also up for discussion will be topics including biotechnology and bioinformatics in personalised medicine as well as targeted medicine aspects of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. 

The event will wrap-up with an ‘Oxford-style’ debate on the subject of ‘Do we need personalised medicine?’ with teams arguing ‘for’ and ‘against’ and an audience vote to conclude. 

Highlights of the forum will include addresses from: Łukasz Szumowski, Poland’s Minister of Health; Beata Jagielska, President of the Polish Alliance on Personal-ised Medicine; and Zbigniew Gaciong, President of the Polish Society on Personal-ised Medicine, as well as EAPM’s Horgan. 

The latter said today: “Like all EU countries, Poland is facing challenges in healthcare. Of course, all Member States are struggling to keep ageing populations healthy and their systems sustainable. 

“The rise of personalised medicine, based on great leaps in sciences such as genomics, can go a long way towards easing the burden, in Poland and beyond. Im-plementing these advances in the optimum way is what we are here for today.”

His Polish counterpart Beata Jagielska said: “The emergence of targeted medicine is a very positive step when it comes to the role of patients in their own healthcare and the ability of medical professionals to treat patients in the best available manner.

“Cross-border collaboration, the proper use and sharing of the huge amounts of medical data, and the education and training of our healthcare professionals in per-sonalised medicine will be key to moving forward. One of our goals today is to get that message across to influencers in Warsaw and beyond.” 

And Minister of Health Łukasz Szumowski said: “The government has been working hard to address issues in the country’s health systems which, as many systems are in the EU, is facing challenges in respect of ageing populations, a shortage of healthcare staff, and the need to educate healthcare professionals as well as po-tential patients.

“It is my belief that the principles of personalised medicine, and its goal of giving the right treatment to the right patient at the right time, will go a long way towards ma-king the Polish health system more sustainable, while improving outcomes and the quality of life for our citizens.” 

Health in Poland

According to the European Commission’s latest Country Health Profile, life expec-tancy at birth in Poland is higher, at 77.5 years, than in most neighbouring coun-tries, while still three years below the EU average. 

Different population groups in the country have different life expectancies with a ten-year gap between those with the lowest and highest education levels.

The report from last year states that Polish men and women currently aged 65 can expect to live another 16 and 20 years, respectively, but less than half these year will be disability free.

The proportion of Polish citizens who say they are in good health is low compared to other EU countries, with many more of the high earners being in good health compared to those on those on lower incomes. 

Alcohol consumption, which is increasing among adults, obesity and physical inac-tivity contribute to around one-third of the total burden of disease, with Polish peo-ple roughly 60% more likely to die from a circulatory disease than the average EU citizen.

Clearly equitable access and education are key priorities here, with affordability and unmet medical being major concerns. 

Add to this the fact that outcomes for cancer care in Poland are of considerable concern with survival rates for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers being lower compared to other EU countries and the cancer mortality rate higher than the Member State average. 

On the plus side, programmes to improve screening and prevention are currently being implemented. 

The assessment found that long-term care in this country of some 38 million people is in need of reform. It describes the sector as ‘fragmented’ and states that the prin-cipal source of provision is informal care by family members and that this is unsus-tainable “given changing demographics and women’s growing participation in the workforce”.

Increased funding, infrastructure investment, and better planning and management could improve the situation and the government is currently implementing structural reforms to the health system, aimed at improving access, coordination and improv-ing allocative and technical efficiency. 

Poland is also facing challenges when it comes to training and retaining enough health workers, promoting access to good-quality care and responding to growing needs for long-term care. 

Meanwhile, access to care is limited by the uneven geographical distribution of hospitals, with some areas remaining underserved, and capacity based mainly on historical factors rather than current population health needs. 

Poland has some of the longest patient waiting times in the European Union and the availability of services there is certainly not helped by the relatively low number of healthcare practitioners.

ENDS

 

For more information, please contact:

Denis Horgan, EAPM Executive Director,

EAPM, Avenue de l'Armee/ Legerlaan 10,

1040 Brussels, Belgium

Ph: + 32 4725 35 104

Website: www.euapm.eu

About EAPM:

The European Alliance for Personalised Medicine brings together Europe's leading healthcare experts and patient advocates to improve patient care by accelerating the development, delivery and uptake of personalised medicine and diagnostics.

It is calling for the European Commission, the European Parliament and EU member states to help improve the regulatory environment so that patients can have early access to personalised medicine, and so that research is boosted.

Registration No: 5314195 Registered Office: 92 Palatine Road, London N16 8ST.