Data from the Association of the European Self-Care Industry (AESGP) show 1.2 billion cases of minor illness are self-managed every year in Europe using non-prescription medicines. The resulting savings for healthcare systems and national economies are estimated in more than €36 billion. The study “Self-Care in Europe: Economic and Social Impact on Individuals and Society” was published in the scientific journal Thieme: Gesundheit Ökon Quality Management.

According to the study, future expansion of self-care (i.e. “the proactive management of minor and temporary ailments by a patient or consumer based on personal preference and with the use of a non-prescription medicine”) could potentially save more than €54 billion every year. Healthcare systems may reach an improved efficiency, avoiding the estimated need for additional 120,000 general doctors.

The study was presented on 15 November 2023 during a AESGP parliamentary event served as a platform for a roundtable discussion between the European Parliament, the research team, healthcare professionals, and patient representatives to explore strategies to incentivise and support the approach to self-care.