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Sustainable Innovation

Number of pages: 148
Date: 14/06/2016

Along with other public institutions, Italian Medicines Agency (Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco – AIFA) plays a major role for the protection of health in our country. Its function is to ensure that medicinal products marketed in Italy are effective, safe and compliant with the quality requirements imposed by current legislation; that pharmaceutical research be encouraged and focused mainly on unmet needs and innovative therapies, and that all this be carried out in compliance with State budget constraints.

The Agency is also committed to promoting a culture of medicines, which means disseminating among health professionals and the general population scientifically validated information on the methods, times and advisability of taking a medicine: in other words, ensuring an appropriate use of medications and patients’ compliance with treatments while monitoring and reducing side effects as far as possible.

Achieving these goals requires competence, willingness to dialogue, transparency and independence from anyone – sometimes, paradoxically, even from itself. Moreover, the ability to communicate knowledge is increasingly important so as not to leave the field open to dis - information, partisan interests and bad faith, which lurk everywhere and have the potential to generate serious consequences for people’s health.

Aware of this, in recent years AIFA has intensified its information and communication activities on topical regulatory and scientific issues, arousing the attention and interest of both industry stakeholders and the public at large and contributing to the debate on the new scenario that is emerging globally in the world of pharmaceuticals and of healthcare in general.

In this book, the Agency collects and systematises by theme areas a small part of the material posted on the institutional portal in the past two years, with additions and updates where necessary, to give readers a dynamic view of the topics covered.

“I maintain that there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience” said Carl Sagan, one of the most distinguished astronomers, astrophysicists and astrochemists of the 20th century. That “thought-provoking sense of wonder”, which is innate in man and fills children with curiosity and thirst for knowledge, loses its momentum for lack of encouragement as we approach adulthood. When science withdraws, giving up its enchantment potential, that opening that is no longer protected is taken over by the germ of pseudo-science, which penetrates it and proliferates.

Recent news reports have provided a variety of examples of denial of science and delegitimization of the set of rules underpinning the credibility of the international scientific community. Those rules have allowed man to make a great many breakthroughs in several fields of knowledge and to learn about the world and himself, to take care of himself and others, to cure diseases and prevent them.

In view of the public’s thirst for knowledge and of the large amount of more or less reliable and verified sources of information (or pseudo-information) available at a click, it is even more necessary for healthcare, academic and educational institutions to ensure a qualified presence in the globalized and complex world of scientific communication. We need to promote a more mature awareness in citizens, enabling them to distinguish good from bad information and not to be led astray by charlatans and conspiracy theories.

This is how AIFA intends to continue to contribute to the debate on issues which, directly or indirectly, have great relevance to public health and the future of our National Health Service (NHS).

Data aggiornamento: June 2016
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