The older population is the fastest growing age group as a result of continuously increasing life expectancy. Older patients are the major user group of pharmaceutical products and yet they face many challenges in medication treatments. These challenges present unique opportunities in developing `age-appropriate medicines` that meet the needs of the older population. However, the complexity of the population and their requirements in medicine design needs to be acknowledged. The older population is a significantly heterogeneous group comprising individuals whose general health conditions are determined by the interplay of chronological age, frailty, and disease status. It is a challenging but critical task to effectively divide the older population into sub-groups which are meaningful for pharmaceutical development. There is also an imperative to address the needs of the oldest age group and those with multi-morbidities.
The Focus Group steering committee has representation from industrial scientists in a number of large pharma companies including Pfizer, BMS, AstraZeneca, academics from King’s College London, UCL School of Pharmacy, University of Bath, University of Hertfordshire, Queen’s University Belfast, De Montfort University, Aston University, University of Strathclyde and regulatory experts from the MHRA.
The Focus Group has attracted dedicated experts to bring a collective effort to this emerging area in the pharmaceutical sciences. The strong commitment of the Focus Group will continue to identify new challenges and developing solutions in medicine for the older population.
It is envisaged that an inter-disciplinary and harmonised approach, involving academia, pharmaceutical industry, regulators, healthcare professionals, patients and carers, is needed to contribute to the research agenda to develop better medicines for older adults.
Dr Orlu developed interest in tailoring therapy for the individual, in particular for paediatrics and older adults, following her post-doctoral fellowship studies in developing better medicines for children. She recognises the special needs of older patients considering the physiological alterations and medicine administration related difficulties due to advanced age. Dr Orlu focuses on designing pharmaceutical formulations and their biorelevant testing in her research studies.
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