Brussels, 15 November 2023 – At its event in Brussels on 15 November, the Association of European Self-Care Industry (AESGP) brought together high-level delegates from the EU institutions and key stakeholders to explore the important findings of the study “Self-Care in Europe: Economic and Social Impact on Individuals and Society.”
The study, led by Professor Uwe May and Doctor Cosima Bauer, delves into the economic and social value of self-care in Europe, offering a comprehensive overview of its current contributions and future potential. Published in the scientific journal Thieme: Gesundheit Ökon Quality Management, the study reveals that, each year, people in Europe self-manage 1.2 billion cases of minor illness using non-prescription medicines, resulting in considerable savings for healthcare systems and national economies – over €36 billion.
Substantial Cost Savings: The study confirms that self-care already plays a vital role in allowing people to treat minor ailments independently, leading to significant savings in healthcare expenditures. Expanding self-care in the future could potentially save more than €54 billion every year.
Impact on Efficiency: The efficiency gains are not limited to cost savings. Self-care also contributes to enhanced efficiency in healthcare and productivity. By alleviating the number of clinic consultations, self-care grants general doctors more time for complex medical cases. Without self-care, an additional 120,000 GPs would be needed in Europe, or each GP would have to work an extra 2.4 hours daily.
Improving Health Systems: Jurate Svarcaite, AESGP Director General, emphasized the importance of promoting self-care in the face of challenges such as resource scarcity, demographic changes, and external stressors like climate change or pandemics, that require health systems to adapt. She stated, “The promotion of self-care in Europe ensures the efficient and sustainable use of health system resources and guarantees that people have full and reliable access to health care while feeling empowered to take care of themselves whenever possible.”
Working Together to Achieve “More Self-Care, Better Healthcare”
For the success of an ambitious self-care policy in Europe, all stakeholders must be appropriately incentivized and supported. The AESGP parliamentary event served as a platform for a roundtable discussion between the European Parliament, the research team, healthcare professionals, and patient representatives to explore strategies to pave the way for a more supportive, inclusive, and impactful approach to self-care.
AESGP President Jonathan Workman remarked on the event, “The evidence that we present here today is not just a collection of data, it’s an opportunity for a collective action. Our aim is to inspire actions at European and national levels that favour the uptake of self-care. In these challenging times, adapting healthcare systems is not merely a choice, it is an imperative. I welcome each of you to join forces and engage in this critical conversation that holds the key to an affordable, accessible, and sustainable healthcare landscape in Europe.”
- AESGP study: Cosima Bauer M.A., Prof. Dr. Uwe May, Chiara Giulini-Limbach M.Sc., Anissa Schneider-Ziebe, M.Sc., Thien-Kim Pham B.Pharm M.Sc., Self-Care in Europe: Economic and Social Impact on Individuals and Society: https://aesgp.eu/content/uploads/2023/05/2022-09-19_Self-Care-in-Europe_MayBauer_AESGP_FINAL.pdf
- AESGP study (summarised brochure): Self-Care in Europe: Economic and Social Impact on Individuals and Society: https://aesgp.eu/content/uploads/2023/10/AESGP_brochure-WEB_single-pages.pdf
- Scientific Journal publication: Uwe May, Cosima Bauer, Anissa Schneider-Ziebe, Chiara Giulini-Limbach, “Self-Medication in Europe: Economic and Social Impact on Individuals and Society”, Thieme: Gesundheit ökon Quality management, 2023, DOI 10.1055/a-2089-5142: https://www.thieme-connect.de/products/ejournals/pdf/10.1055/a-2089-5142.pdf