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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. Asthma as a chronic health condition can be controlled when in addition to clinical care, adequate education and support is provided to enhance self-management. Like many other chronic health conditions improv...

    Authors: Philip O. Anum, Berko P. Anto and Audrey G. Forson
    Citation: Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice 2017 10:8
  2. The prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is increasing in sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, the use of mobile phones is rising, expanding the opportunities for the implementation of mobile phone-...

    Authors: Daniel Opoku, Victor Stephani and Wilm Quentin
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2017 15:24
  3. What does the future of medicine hold? We asked six researchers to share their most ambitious and optimistic views of the future, grounded in the present but looking out a decade or more from now to consider w...

    Authors: Paul Wicks, Matthew Hotopf, Vaibhav A. Narayan, Ethan Basch, James Weatherall and Muir Gray
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2016 14:176
  4. 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...

    Authors: Ejike Nwokoro, Ross Leach, Christine Årdal, Enrico Baraldi, Kellie Ryan and Jens Plahte
    Citation: Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice 2016 9:34
  5. 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...

    Authors: Gemma L. Buckland Merrett, Gerald Bloom, Annie Wilkinson and Hayley MacGregor
    Citation: Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice 2016 9:31
  6. 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 ...

    Authors: Tim K. Mackey, Jillian Clare Kohler, William D. Savedoff, Frank Vogl, Maureen Lewis, James Sale, Joshua Michaud and Taryn Vian
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2016 14:149
  7. 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...

    Authors: Louise E. Curley, Janice Moody, Rukshar Gobarani, Trudi Aspden, Maree Jensen, Maureen McDonald, John Shaw and Janie Sheridan
    Citation: Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice 2016 9:29
  8. 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 ...

    Authors: Sze-Ann Woon and Dale Fisher
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2016 14:114
  9. 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...

    Authors: Viet-Thi Tran and Philippe Ravaud
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2016 14:102
  10. There have been no studies of the patterns of post-marketing withdrawals of medicinal products to which adverse reactions have been attributed. We identified medicinal products that were withdrawn because of a...

    Authors: Igho J. Onakpoya, Carl J. Heneghan and Jeffrey K. Aronson
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2016 14:10

    The Correction to this article has been published in BMC Medicine 2019 17:56

  11. 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...

    Authors: Tim K. Mackey and Virginia J. Schoenfeld
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2016 14:17