New medicines not reaching everyone

A new study ordered by the pharmaceutical industry in Sweden shows great regional differences in the treatment given to people with a number of serious illnesses.

For example, in Västerbotten in northern Sweden, three out of four patients with Alzheimers will receive a drug that slows down the deterioration process. But in Örebro, further south, only one out of four Alzheimer patients will be given medicine.

Michael Hoffman at the NEPI network says to Swedish radio news that even good new medicines usually take a while to catch on, and more could be done to help them reach the right patients.

But Göran Stiernstedt, in charge of health at the association of local authorities, points out that new medicines are not always better, "sometimes there are alternative treatment methods that are just as good."

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