Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, told a conference in Brussels yesterday evening that the right prevention policies play an important role in improving European health and tackling the spiralling costs of health treatment. Deputy Mitchell O’Connor was speaking at a European Alliance for Personalised Medicine conference in Brussels with European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly and European Commissioner, Phil Hogan.
“The case for prevention as treatment – as well as treatment as prevention – is now here, if it wasn’t already.
“Personalised medicine is all about giving the right treatment to the right patient at the right time, but there’s a reason why the phrase “prevention is better than cure” is so well known.
“Personalised medicine utilises research, data and up-to-the-minute technology to provide better diagnostics and follow up for citizens than is currently the case. It uses genetic information to discern whether a particular drug or regime will work for a particular patient and assists clinicians in deciding which treatment will be the most effective. It can also have a huge impact in a preventative sense.
“Earlier diagnostics and earlier treatment has many benefits, among them fiscal, because while cost is a major issue – and there are key questions about the cost-effectiveness of new and even existing treatments – better diagnostics will ease the burden on health-care systems in two ways.
“It will allow a more preventative approach in that gene technology will flag up the likelihood of a particular individual developing a particular disease and provide a good idea of how it will develop, thereby encouraging early intervention.
“Efficacious treatment means patients are much less likely to require expensive hospital beds and are more able to continue working and contributing to Europe’s economy.
“There is much we can do at national and European level to improve the prevention mechanisms we use to ensure that children are encouraged to be healthy and to grow up as healthy adults.
“Informed, evidence-based policy making has an important role to play in public health and I commend the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine for its important work.”