Leading figures will gather at The Hub in Edinburgh to hear Drummond Paris, ABPI Board of Management and Chief Executive of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, highlight the importance of the pharmaceutical industry's role in facilitating patient involvement. He will say that the researchers, developers and manufacturers of prescription medicines in the UK should be allowed to utilise their unique position to provide authoritative information about disease, treatment and medicines, for the benefit of patients.
He will argue that the pharmaceutical industry should be allowed to provide accurate, balanced and scientifically sound information about medicines directly to patients if they are to participate fully in their own healthcare management.
A MORI survey, commissioned by ABPI Scotland in October as part of Ask About Medicines Week, showed that a significant number of the public do not believe that there is enough information about medicines available to them, and that there should be a variety of sources from which that information may be freely obtained, including the pharmaceutical industry.
"While the information age offers ever more opportunities to gather information about health and health care, previously only available to healthcare professionals, not all of it is reliable," Drummond Paris told the debate entitled "Patient Involvement and Better Outcomes - Is knowledge good for your health?"
"Patients are taking an increasing interest in their health and want to know more about the medicines they are prescribed, and are actively encouraged by the Scottish Executive, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and patient groups to make their voice heard when decisions on their healthcare management are being made.
"Patients deserve to have a wide range of reliable and viable information to allow them to make the best choices, but the real experts on medicines are not allowed by law to play their role."
Chairing proceedings will be Pennie Taylor, leading commentator and broadcaster.
Jim Eadie, Director of ABPI Scotland said "Everyone now accepts that patients have a right to participate in decisions made about their health. But they can only do this effectively if they have access to all relevant sources of expert information, including that about medicines."
For further information, please contact: ABPI Press Office 020 7747 1410
Notes to editors
If you wish to attend the debate please note that the welcome reception begins at 6.30pm in the Dunard Library. The debate begins at 7.00pm prompt in the Great Hall.
Please contact Yvonne White on arrival.
Providing expert views on other issues essential for ensuring patients are involved in their healthcare management are Dr Anna Gregor, the Lead Cancer Clinician for Scotland and currently the Lothian Lead Clinician for Cancer and a Clinical Oncologist in Edinburgh; June Andrews, Director for Centre for Change and Innovation, Scottish Executive Health Department and Wendy Nganasurian, Lay representative on the Scottish Medicines Consortium, and patient representative.
ABPI Scotland would like to thank the following companies for supporting this event: AstraZeneca, Merck, Sharp & Dohme, Sanofi Synthelabo, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche, Eli Lilly, Wyeth, Pfizer