Event Information

27 April 2017 - 09:00
Scotland House
Rond Point Schuman 6
Brussels, 1040
Rickard Eksten
Scotland House
Rond Point Schuman 6
1040, Brussels

Active and healthy ageing – Addressing the challenges of multi-medication in Europe’s elderly population

Simpathy project | Scottish Government EU Office | Scotland Europa

Across Europe, healthcare policy makers share the same challenges:

  • An ageing population, with multiple long-term conditions, requiring numerous medications
  • A traditional attitude to prescribing which focuses on each individual complaint rather than taking a holistic view of the patient's conditions
  • 50% of patients taking 4 or more medications do not take them as prescribed
  • 3-6% of hospital admissions are caused by inappropriate medication use. These patients are twice as likely to have further hospital admissions

There is, therefore, an urgent need to achieve safe, sustainable, efficient approaches to the appropriate use of prescription medications.

The SIMPATHY (Stimulating Innovation Management of Polypharmacy and Adherence in The Elderly) project, co-funded by the third EU Health Programme, brings together ten partners from across Europe to address challenges in health service provision and sustainable management of medication among the elderly. The project aims to deliver the necessary change in management approaches and tools to help manage multi-medication and adherence to prescribed drugs.

We would like to invite you to attend our final conference, where we will share the good practice identified; the components required to optimise impact and demonstrate new tools to gather evidence on the potential economic impact of improved approaches to polypharmacy. It is our hope that this conference will inspire you – as health leaders, professionals and key stakeholders – to adopt new approaches to improve outcomes for EU citizens from medicines and achieve efficiencies.

The interactive event will explore opportunities for further European initiatives to improve the management of polypharmacy and support change across the EU. Participants will also hear from the European Commission’s DG Health and the WHO putting this challenge in a European and global context. In addition, a pre-eminent thought leader from Harvard University will give a keynote address on the importance of leadership in healthcare change management.

We look forward to meet you in Scotland House, Brussels on 27 April 2017


About the SIMPATHY project

Organiser of Active and healthy ageing – Addressing the challenges of multi-medication in Europe’s elderly population

The SIMPATHY project has been co-funded by the third EU Health Programme. The project consortium brings together ten partners from eight EU Member States.

SIMPATHY aims to stimulate, promote and support innovation across the EU in the management of appropriate polypharmacy and adherence in the elderly. We contribute to efficient and sustainable healthcare systems and impact health outcomes and quality of life of patients with multimorbidity.

Specifically, we aim to raise awareness and engender high-level commitment to the need to change how prescribing and multi-drug use is managed in order to realise the patent and healthcare systems benefits.

The project has demonstrated that the impact of improving prescribing is optimised through the use of multi-disciplinary teams, including pharmacists, to improve the quality of prescribing; where there is inspirational leadership to promote change and where efficiencies can be demonstrated with robust evidence.

The key messages of SIMPATHY:

  • The use of drugs as the major therapeutic in modern medicine and an ageing population presents major challenges for effective healthcare management.
  • The change management challenges involved in delivering appropriate polypharmacy must include all healthcare stakeholders working in a framework of integrated care.
  • Lack of awareness of the key issues, including economic and societal benefits available through improved medicines management is a major problem for policymakers and healthcare professionals across the EU.
  • Recognition of the issue is growing but positive change requires leadership from the highest levels from policymakers to clinicians.


This document is part of SIMPATHY project (663082), which has received funding from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014-2020).