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The use of antidepressant drugs increases, lifestyles worsen, suicides increase. According to the annual report compiled by the National Observatory on Health of the Catholic University of Rome, these are the effects of the crisis on health in Italy. Furthermore, underlines Walter Ricciardi, director of the Observatory, our country has not put in place the possible initiatives to limit the problem. «In our country, nine million people have now given up on treating small and medium-sized ailments – explains the expert, commenting on the Lancet magazine special on health in Europe at the time of the crisis – either because of too long waiting lists, or because they are unable to pay for the treatments. A clear example comes from dental care, with an increase in people who lose their teeth and do not replace them, also because dentistry in Italy is almost exclusively private". The most striking figure, as in the rest of Europe, is that of suicides: if in 2008 there were 2,828 cases, two years later they rose to 3,048. Added to the direct effects on people are those of cuts to health services: «An example of this can be seen in the statistics on breast cancer - underlines Ricciardi - in the South there are half the cases but the same number of deaths. This is because there is a lack of screening services, and therefore diagnoses are made when the cancer is in an advanced stage". Many other countries, explains Ricciardi, have managed to limit the damage with some measures: "There are five or six things that can be done - he says - from increasing prevention, in which Italy is last in Europe for spending compared to the GDP, to the modulation of services based on the needs of the territory, to the integration between social and health services, to prevent social services from being provided at higher costs by the NHS. We have limited ourselves to cuts ».

29 March 2013 – DoctorNews33





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Fedaiisf Federazione delle Associazioni Italiane degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco