Is disease management relevant in Europe? some evidence from the United Kingdom

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Actions or approaches by the pharmaceutical industry, going under the general label 'disease management', have become very popular in the USA. However, there appears to be uncertainty about what exactly 'disease management' is and about the extent to which it can be applied in Europe. A postal questionnaire on disease management was sent out to senior personnel in the UK NHS and pharmaceutical industry. The survey aimed to explore the meaning of the term 'disease management' and its relevance to the NHS, assessing how perspectives differed between the two groups of respondents. Views on the barriers to the increase of disease management within the NHS were also sought. Finally, respondents were asked to indicate any involvement in joint disease management ventures. Most respondents agreed that disease management included estimating the total cost of managing a disease (92%) and the devising of clinical guidelines (97%). When asked about the particular role a pharmaceutical company might play, the level of agreement dropped in both groups of respondents, but by a greater degree in the NHS group. In defining disease management for themselves, just 4% of respondents referred to a 'partnership' between the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry. It would seem that, for the majority of respondents, 'joint ventures' are a possible, but not a necessary, means of undertaking disease management. Almost 30% of NHS respondents and 55% of industry respondents indicated that their Authority or company had experience of a joint venture in disease management. The major perceived barrier to an increase in disease management was NHS suspicion of pharmaceutical companies (86% of all respondents), with the difficulty in drawing up contracts coming a close second (79%).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-77
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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