Today’s medicine – a victim of its own success – faces ever-growing and increasingly costly
demands. But medical services cannot expand indefinitely, as the financial resources required
to pay for them are ultimately limited. The challenge lies in ensuring the long-term viability
of the values, goals and tasks of medicine, so that high-quality medical services remain
available to meet the health needs of future generations. This is the aim of “sustainable
In its current form, medicine is not sustainable, and there is thus an urgent need for innovative
ways of tackling the problem. This position paper is designed to raise awareness of the issue
of sustainability among health system actors, and to stimulate the necessary political debate.
In the position paper, five factors are identified which undermine the sustainability of
medicine and, at the same time, a series of measures are outlined which would promote
1. Medical interventions do not always have a clear benefit, or the benefits are frequently
overestimated or misinterpreted.
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