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Medicine and the Future of Health

Guest editors: Dr Zaheer-Ud-Din Babar, Dr Dale Fisher and Dr Paul Wicks

Pharmaceuticals constitute on average 12-18% of the healthcare budget of OECD countries but 70-90% in developing countries. With the emergence of multi drug resistant organisms, ageing populations and increasing life expectancy, it is expected that medication utilization will increase worldwide. Advances in diagnostics will contribute to greater and more targeted use of drugs while technology could also impact opportunities for personalised approaches, biotechnology and the way we develop, use and access medicines. Ethical, financial and logistical challenges will surround the constantly evolving field of pharmaceuticals particularly with regards rapid and responsible development and also access to all who need them.

This article collection, jointly published by Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice (JoPPP) and BMC Medicine, is a cross-journal collaboration. It will cover recent advances in drug development, medicines use, policy and access, that has both broad interest and high clinical and public health relevance due to their impact on the future of health.

We are now seeking submissions of original research, in-depth reviews, opinions and debates offering novel insights into all aspects of medicines and the future of health. If you would like your work to be considered, please send a presubmission enquiry to (please indicate which Journal you are enquiring about).

  1. Research

    An assessment of the future impact of alternative technologies on antibiotics markets

    The increasing threat of antimicrobial resistance combined with the paucity of new classes of antibiotics represents a serious public health challenge. New treatment technologies could, in theory, have a signi...

    Ejike Nwokoro, Ross Leach, Christine Årdal, Enrico Baraldi, Kellie Ryan and Jens Plahte

    Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice 2016 9:34

    Published on: 26 October 2016

  2. Editorial

    Medicine and the future of health: reflecting on the past to forge ahead

    The development of new therapies has a rich history, evolves quickly with societal trends, and will have an exciting future. The last century has seen an exponential increase in complex interactions between me...

    Dale Fisher, Paul Wicks and Zaheer-Ud-Din Babar

    Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice 2016 9:33

    Published on: 25 October 2016

  3. Review

    Towards the just and sustainable use of antibiotics

    The emergence and spread of antibiotic resistant pathogens poses a big challenge to policy-makers, who need to oversee the transformation of health systems that evolved to provide easy access to these drugs in...

    Gemma L. Buckland Merrett, Gerald Bloom, Annie Wilkinson and Hayley MacGregor

    Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice 2016 9:31

    Published on: 7 October 2016

  4. Forum

    The disease of corruption: views on how to fight corruption to advance 21st century global health goals

    Corruption has been described as a disease. When corruption infiltrates global health, it can be particularly devastating, threatening hard gained improvements in human and economic development, international ...

    Tim K. Mackey, Jillian Clare Kohler, William D. Savedoff, Frank Vogl, Maureen Lewis, James Sale, Joshua Michaud and Taryn Vian

    BMC Medicine 2016 14:149

    Published on: 29 September 2016

  5. Review

    Is there potential for the future provision of triage services in community pharmacy?

    Worldwide the demands on emergency and primary health care services are increasing. General practitioners and accident and emergency departments are often used unnecessarily for the treatment of minor ailments...

    Louise E. Curley, Janice Moody, Rukshar Gobarani, Trudi Aspden, Maree Jensen, Maureen McDonald, John Shaw and Janie Sheridan

    Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice 2016 9:29

    Published on: 29 September 2016

  6. Commentary

    Medicine shortages: a commentary on causes and mitigation strategies

    Shortages of medicines and vaccines have been reported in countries of all income levels in recent years. Shortages can result from one or multiple causes, including shortages of raw materials, manufacturing c...

    Swathi Iyengar, Lisa Hedman, Gilles Forte and Suzanne Hill

    BMC Medicine 2016 14:124

    Published on: 29 September 2016

  7. Commentary

    Empowered citizen ‘health hackers’ who are not waiting

    Due to the easier access to information, the availability of low cost technologies and the involvement of well educated, passionate patients, a group of citizen ‘Health Hackers’, who are building their own med...

    Timothy Omer

    BMC Medicine 2016 14:118

    Published on: 17 August 2016

  8. Opinion

    Antimicrobial agents – optimising the ecological balance

    There is no more challenging a group of pharmaceuticals than antimicrobials. With the antibiotic era came great optimism as countless deaths were prevented from what were previously fatal conditions. Although ...

    Sze-Ann Woon and Dale Fisher

    BMC Medicine 2016 14:114

    Published on: 5 August 2016

  9. Commentary

    Frugal innovation in medicine for low resource settings

    Whilst it is clear that technology is crucial to advance healthcare: innovation in medicine is not just about high-tech tools, new procedures or genome discoveries. In constrained environments, healthcare prov...

    Viet-Thi Tran and Philippe Ravaud

    BMC Medicine 2016 14:102

    Published on: 7 July 2016

  10. Commentary

    Drug safety: withdrawn medications are only part of the picture

    In a research article published in BMC Medicine, Onakpoya and colleagues provide a historical review of withdrawals of medications for safety reasons. However, withdrawn medications are only one part of the pictu...

    Nigel S. B. Rawson

    BMC Medicine 2016 14:28

    Published on: 13 February 2016

  11. Correspondence

    Going “social” to access experimental and potentially life-saving treatment: an assessment of the policy and online patient advocacy environment for expanded access

    Social media is fundamentally altering how we access health information and make decisions about medical treatment, including for terminally ill patients. This specifically includes the growing phenomenon of p...

    Tim K. Mackey and Virginia J. Schoenfeld

    BMC Medicine 2016 14:17

    Published on: 2 February 2016