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Rheumatology: the appeal to institutions to guarantee therapies to patients

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Rheumatology: the appeal to institutions to guarantee therapies to patients

There are therapies for rheumatological patients and they work for many of them. The problem arises above all when therapies collide with bureaucratic obstacles and cuts in healthcare spending, with the result today that about 30% of patients are under-treated or not treated at all. The CAPIRE Observatory and ANMAR (National Association of Rheumatic Patients) have sounded the alarm, bringing the accent on an issue which is unfortunately not new when it comes to therapeutic appropriateness. The appeal that comes from the CAPIRE Observatory and from the patient association follows the one that resounded last week during the national congress of the Italian Society of Rheumatology, when the experts had placed the accent on the risk represented by the continuous changes of biological drugs, guided mostly from savings needs. On that occasion, the invitation was to identify shared rules in the various regions, the result of the joint work of hospital pharmacists, health authorities and clinicians, aimed at guaranteeing both the sustainability of the health system and the appropriateness and continuity of therapy.

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We need a dialogue with the institutions

“We need to start a dialogue with all the institutions, and in particular with the spending decision-makers of the Regions, to find new solutions”, ANMAR reiterates today through its national president, Silvia Tonolo. “There are virtuous Regions like Campania which have set up and set up discussion tables in which ANMAR and the other local rheumatological patient associations participated and which jointly elaborated the guidelines for the prescription of biological and biosimilar drugs. Others such as the Veneto have already adopted the requests of the unitary motion on rheumatological pathologies approved in the bicameral assembly in March of this year. Still others, such as Tuscany, which are working to set up the permanent discussion table on rheumatological pathologies with the involvement of patient associations, supported by the CAPIRE Observatory, scientific societies and clinicians”.

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Overcome the savings policy

Responding to the needs of rheumatological patients means not only ensuring the availability of drugs, but also building pathways that can direct the patient to access them when the need arises after diagnosis. “Not giving a patient the possibility of having a territorial reference center for therapy monitoring, treatment plan updating or a first immediate visit after the certain diagnosis of the disease is an infringement of the right to continuity of care”, he added the legal manager of the CAPIRE Observatory Patrizia Comite “Leaving a sick person without the possibility of having the drug indicated by the attending physician is a serious violation of the constitutionally protected right to health. We therefore appeal to all institutions to ensure a real and concrete safeguard of the rights of all rheumatological patients”. Safeguarding patients’ rights also means reviewing the logic of health expenditure, going beyond savings policies, focused only on savings, added Mauro Galeazzi, Scientific Director of the Observatory: “The cuts to health care made in a ‘linear’ way since 2008 only contributed to destroying what worked and wasting more resources. As we have been saying for years, the healthcare expenditure paradigm needs to be profoundly changed. We need to move from a rigid programming of separate health and social funding to a system that includes unified and therefore more elastic social-health spending “.

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