FLORENCE, 10 July (APM) - A study has forecast that Italy's economic output could be €235 billion higher by 2040 if it invests effectively in healthcare, including having a focus on innovative drugs and new technology and processes, Thursday Il Sole 24 Ore reported.
The report by McKinsey Global Institute, 'Prioritising Health: A prescription for prosperity,' analyses the possible action needed and estimates the economic and social benefits of a reduction in premature deaths and disabilities and improving worker well-being.
According to the study, the coronavirus pandemic will result in an 8% drop in global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020. However, costs of poor health could be cut by twice that sum every year if addressed with the right policies. McKinsey listed a number which would make a difference.
They included making existing tools accessible on a large scale to lower the global disease burden by around 40% over the next 20 years. That sort of reduction would mean a 65-year-old in 2040 could have the same state of health as a 55-year-old today, child mortality would decrease by 65% and the gap in health inequality would narrow.
Innovation, including latest generation drugs, medical devices, technologies and delivery models, will be fundamental to improve the health of the world population and could reduce the impact of diseases by a further 6-10%. The study identifies a series of technologies with high impact potential in the next 20 years in areas which are currently not covered, Il Sole 24 Ore said.
Better health conditions would allow global economic output to increase by $12,000 billion by 2040, an increase of 8%, or an additional 0.4% annual growth. Italy would see its GDP rise by $235 billion over the next 20 years.
The study looked at the future possibilities up to 2040 in 200 countries, with the aim of identifying health challenges and opportunities that each of them will face. The results are aggregated on a regional and global level, and on the basis of the different levels of economic development, the paper said.
Italy's clinical trials of oncology drugs down 35% in pandemic
The number of clinical trials of oncology drugs in Italy fell 35% in the pandemic, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Monday.
The paper cited a survey by the Federation of Italian Cooperative Oncology Groups (Ficog). The fall was explained as being as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 emergency on healthcare facilities during lockdown but also because of concern about regulations and availability of economic resources.
Ficog organised an online conference during which oncologists, industry figures and government institutions discussed the issues. "The time has come to start a national programme for cancer research. Due to the coronavirus, we expect difficulties in the coming months in the promotion of new studies, in the availability of resources and in patient communication and information," Carmine Pinto, Ficog's president, was reported as saying.
He added that the movement of patients from one region to another will also be limited and some services will have to be provided remotely to reduce people visiting health facilities.
Pinto called for a national network of all clinical research centres to be set up. He suggested increased sharing of projects and resources throughout the country would help cancer research to continue.
Evaristo Maiello, Ficog's treasurer, highlighted one positive development in the emergency. Numerous studies have been launched in Italy to find new treatments against Covid-19. He suggested this was possible because of incessant work by medicines agency AIFA's Technical Scientific Committee.
He expressed hope that oncology projects can now be restarted and simplified, rapid processes adopted in this field of research as well.
Call for national HTA agency to be set up
There has been a call for a national HTA agency to be set up by an expert in the field who wrote an opinion piece published in Monday's Il Sole 24 Ore.
Pietro Derrico, president of the Italian HTA Society (SIHTA) and head of an HTA unit at Rome's Bambino Gesù Hospital, noted that the World Health Organization considers HTA to be essential for ensuring sustainability, quality and access in universal health systems such as Italy's.
SIHTA has published a position paper and now intends to start a national debate about the best way that this objective can be achieved.
Derrico suggested the proposed system would allow for assessment of innovative health technologies to become a management tool in the national health service. This was one of the issues highlighted in the latest health pact because the current architecture has not been able to make HTA available to political and managerial decision makers.
According to Derrico, HTA was almost completely absent as a tool during the coronavirus crisis when it could have made a significant contribution to emergency management.