Milena Jadrijević-Mladar Takač, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, University of Zagreb, A. Kovačića 1, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia

The 21st century approaches with science and technology assume an increasing importance in society. The steady growth of scientific capacity, the expansion of the Internet, and the hyper-mobility of knowledge has enabled new knowledge producers in global science and technology communities. Most research activities, programmes and policies take place at regional and national levels, but no single country offers sufficient resources to be competitive on the world scale. Transnational co-operation helps make the most efficient and effective use of national and regional resources. In times ahead, the security and competitiveness in science require a sharing, rather than protecting knowledge and information. This moves to new horizons in all sciences. The European Union, by creating and now expanding its European Research Area, is composed of all research and development activities, programmes and policies in Europe that involve a transnational perspective. Together, they enable researchers, research institutions and businesses to increasingly circulate, compete and co-operate across borders. The aim is to give an access to a Europe-wide open space for knowledge and technologies in which transnational synergies and complementarities are fully exploited. The innovation is one of flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy for a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy, included in its Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.
The globalisation of the economy has resulted in the market increasing which is less dependent on national governments and more dependent on international cooperation. The most vital economies in 21st century will be those that are immersed in knowledge networks, since our progress is dependent on science, technology and communications. The leading-edge companies will be those that perceive research as a global and affiliated enterprise.
The future level of global spending on medicines underscores the similar challenges of access and affordability which face those who consume and pay for healthcare around the world. In the developed markets, including the United States and Europe, the current economic downturn will amplify many of the long-term concerns about aging populations afflicted with expensive chronic diseases and the desire by all healthcare stakeholders to control costs. Across countries, similar policies are already being implemented to rein in spending on expensive therapies, increase the use of generics, address pricing directly through price cuts or indirectly via discounts or rebates, and develop a market for biosimilars as a lower-cost alternative to original biologicals.
The rise in incomes, particularly in fast growing markets, coupled with government commitments to support expanded access to basic healthcare services, will make medicines more broadly available and affordable to millions of people. New therapies for a range of diseases affecting both, developed and developing world populations, are currently, or will soon become available transforming patient care. Recent advances in genomics, proteomics and computational power present new ways to understand illness. The task of discovering and developing safe and effective drugs is even more promising as our knowledge of disease increases.

Despite this progress, significant gaps remain in the drug arsenal. Better and safe medicines are, and will be in the focus of interest of all stakeholders, because the safety of medicines is an essential part of patient safety.

Horizon 2020, The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation,

The Global Use of Medicines: Outlook Through 2016, Report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, 12 July 2012,

Gaspar, R., Aksu, B., Cuine, A., Danhof, M., Jadrijević- Mladar Takač, M., Linden, H.H., Link, A., Muchitsch, E.M., Wilson, C. G., Öhrngren, P., Dencker, L., Towards a European Strategy for Medicines Research (2014–2020): The EUFEPS Position Paper on Horizon 2020. Eur. J. Pharm. Sci. 2012, 47: 979–987.