The report considers the key elements and drivers for self-care, and examines the political and regulatory response across three global markets: the US, Europe and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa)
Within this year's report, five drivers of self-care have been identified:
Increase patient education and understanding of self-care
Both have a vital part to play in promoting and supporting self care
Self-care must be integrated in healthcare policies and systems
Need for international standards, standardisation of medicine classification and good partnerships between patients, HCPs and pharmacists to increase self-care options and ensure patient safety
Focus on the role of apps and wearable technologies that both inform and track long-term benefits within a regulated framework
Our healthcare systems are rapidly becoming unsustainable. In emerging economies – from Brazil to China – governments still struggle to provide universal healthcare. Health literacy is poor, the primary-care system patchy and hospitals overstretched.
In OECD countries, health spending already stands at 15 per cent of all government expenditure. As populations age and the incidence of chronic ailments rises – in rich and poor countries alike – demand for health services and pressure on budget will only increase.
Clearly, we need a new approach to healthcare that empowers people to look after their health, freeing resources for patients who really need medical care.
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Within the US, Europe and the BRICS
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annual healthcare spend
Pressure on healthcare systems are severe, so the need for chronic disease self-management is intense
of annual spend based on poor diet and lifestyle
Country must embrace self-care as 50% of adults have at least one chronic condition
Policy makers encouraging self-care
The US DHHSHS strategy is improve evidence-based self-care management programmes, enhance sustainability and improve cost-effectiveness
E-pharmacies on the rise
They enable self-care, but must be regulated. In 2015 96% of e-pharmacies were illegal or not conforming to regulations (NABP sampling)
of population have proficient health literacy
Lack of health literacy costing US approx. US$106-238bn annually
National guidelines support increasing health literacy
National Action Plan released to improve health literacy in 2010 by providing people with accurate and actionable information
to undertake health literacy survey in 2019
In 2011 survey, 8 countries took part – 47.6% showed limited literacy, and 12.4% showed the lowest level of literacy
Health literacy programmes
Often disease specific, e.g. there are 102 diabetes self-management education programmes across EU
different self-care practices for common cold
Research study of 2,724 patients now helping doctors to support patient’s self-care
Pharmacists role in self-care
The Pharmaceutical Group of European Union advises that pharmacists can play a leading self-care policy creation role based on their unique professional insight
In Sweden, patients with chronic or end-stage renal disease receive equipment training, resulting in self-dialysis patients being less likely to be hospitalised
UK patients that could have found an OTC product to help them instead of GP visit
Annual Self-care week
Many European healthcare organisations participate in Self-Care Week, a campaign to engage professionals, decision-makers, and citizens
Growing OTC market
One of the fastest grown OTC medicine markets with regulatory systems being updated to improve patient safety and fast-track medications to market
Struggling to raise funds for universal healthcare coverage, especially in rural areas
Healthcare professionals not widely trained to empower patients to self-care
Large-scale initiatives boosting hygiene access and practices, e.g. China’s ‘toilet revolution’ and India’s ‘Clean India’ programme
Regulators overwhelmed by efforts to regulate/verify legitimacy of growing e-pharmacy market
Limited health literacy
Due to gaps in education and access to health facilities
Self-care has great potential to improve health outcomes for people and support savings for stretched healthcare budgets. And for policymakers, there is still a huge opportunity to recognise self-care as an important tool and make it a larger foundation of healthcare systems.
But there will not be progress unless policymakers take action. Self-care is not a magic bullet, nor is it self-sustaining. Stakeholders have to commit to building an environment where patients and HCPs alike are empowered and engaged.
There is an economic cost to this regulatory disharmony, but there is an even bigger loss to patients and healthcare systems.
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RB will continue its efforts to help drive evidence based reforms in self-care and that the policy efforts, including the preparation of this report, are overseen by Flavio Kakimoto (VP Regulatory, EURANZ, Global Policy & Global eCommerce) and Grace Li (Head of Regulatory, Global Policy & eCommerce).