The Economic and Social Value of Self-Care

Self-care has a wide range of benefits for individuals, society and healthcare systems. The resources freed up by policies that support and encourage self-care can play an important role in building more resilient health systems across Europe.

The Economic and Social Value of Self-Care

A positive snowball effect for society

Did you know? Every self-care action you take for your health benefits the whole system:

The benefits of self-care

Self-care plays an important role in the sustainability of healthcare systems. Because self-care products can be acquired without a prescription, they are often our first choice in health care, allowing us to quickly manage a wide range of common health problems, such as headaches, colds, coughs, pain, allergies, tobacco addiction, heartburn, etc. Self-care contributes to our overall well-being and allows us to lead normal lives and be productive even when we are not feeling well.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, self-care has helped us avoid the risk of being exposed to the virus. The practice of self-care has reduced unnecessary visits to overcrowded healthcare facilities and saved valuable time for already exhausted healthcare professionals. The self-assessment and self-management of minor ailments, often supported by pharmacist advice, have been critical in coping with an emotionally stressful period of confinement and self-isolation.

The benefits of self-care

The benefits of self-care for people

  • Empowerment and effective disease management: A wide range of health issues can be self-diagnosed, treated, monitored, and resolved with self-care products. Self-care allows us to take charge of our health and well-being, giving us the opportunity to improve our quality of life.
  • Better well-being, whatever our age:  Self-care plays a key role in managing certain conditions, and improving symptoms and recovery times. It is an essential part of well-being at all stages of our lives, from childhood colitis to pain management in the elderly.
  • Better availability: The ever-growing range of self-care products offers a wide choice in health and wellness care. Likewise, it offers the opportunity for pharmacists to expand their competence and offer immediate solutions to the people and communities they serve. With a dense network of community pharmacies and their extended hours of operation, as well as the availability of pharmacist advice without prior appointment, self-care products are the first choice in the self-care continuum for many. 
The benefits of self-care

The benefits of self-care for society and health systems

  • More efficient, less stressful, less time-consuming: Self-care saves us time and effort by allowing us to manage many health needs conveniently and efficiently, alone or in consultation with a pharmacist or other healthcare professional. This, in turn, reduces wait times at doctor’s offices and unnecessary emergency department visits.
  • Better resource allocation: Self-care relieves the workload of overburdened healthcare systems. This allows them to allocate resources more efficiently and increases their ability to treat people with long-term or complicated conditions. 
  • Lower costs and better return on investment: Self-care helps combat rising healthcare costs. It is often the most cost-effective solution for minor ailments, as alternatives such as seeing a doctor not only incur additional costs but also require time off. Investing in self-care generates demonstrable long-term savings for governments, health systems and households. 

National studies

Investments in self-care lead to demonstrable savings for governments, health systems and households. Several studies highlight the economic and social value of self-care: 


Self-Care in Europe: Economic and Social Impact on Individuals and Society (AESGP, 2023) View

Self-Care in Europe: Economic and Social Impact on Individuals and Society (AESGP, 2023)

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The social and economic value of self-care (AESGP, 2021) View

The social and economic value of self-care (AESGP, 2021)

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