Europe’s health care systems aren’t feeling very well.Doctors have been threatening massive strikes in Britain to protest pay and conditions. Italian regions are going bankrupt trying to fund medicines.
Drugmakers are pulling diabetes drugs from Germany, blaming government-set prices that don’t let them recoup their investment.
Highly specialized medicines for diseases like cancer are entering the market at sky-high prices, forcing governments to choose between the need to treat their citizens and the need to spend wisely. And in many countries, people head straight to the hospital when they’re feeling sick, which makes treating patients especially expensive.
Health spending flattened after the 2008 economic crisis, but it’s expected to rise from 6 percent to 14 percent of GDP in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries within decades if something isn’t done to stem the rise, according to the rich nations’ think tank.
At the same time, Europe’s population is only getting older, straining an already stretched-thin system. Thirty percent or more of nearly the entire European region’s population will be over 60 by 2050, up from between 10 percent and under 30 percent in 2015, according to recent WHO data.