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Young adults in Europe shun established health websites for health stories on unvetted, forum-style websites survey reveals

  • Survey of 5,000 adults in Europe shows  Millennials take comfort in hearing about people’s similar health experiences, while less than a quarter trust peer-reviewed health websites
  • Lack of trust in expert peer-reviewed health websites comes despite nearly three-quarters of young adults (73%) searching for health information online more than once a month 
  • Survey findings published as Teva calls for a drive to foster greater patient empowerment backed by advances in digital healthcare and greater healthcare literacy 

Manchester--Sept. 8, 2016 -- Over half of young adults (18-24 year olds) in Europe take comfort in hearing about people’s health experiences that are similar to theirs1 while less than a quarter of the same age-group trust online health websites2 and even less (17%) believe they will receive quality and dependable information from online search engines such as Google.2  

While nearly three-quarters of information-hungry Millennials search more than once a month for health information online,3 new data suggests that young adults are struggling to find the information they need about their health, and are turning to forum-style websites, which may contain inaccurate health advice. The habits of young adults looking for health information online have been revealed as part of new research involving 5,000 participants across France, Poland, Germany, Russia and the UK, which has been released today by Teva Pharmaceuticals Europe. 

Teva published these findings to coincide with the start of the flagship UK healthcare conference – NHS England’s Health & Care Innovation Expo 2016, being held in Manchester on September 7 & 8. Teva is serving as NHS England’s ‘Digital Zone’ partner at this year’s Expo, with the aim of sharing experiences, examining best practices, and understanding drivers and barriers to adopting digital technologies in healthcare that have the potential to improve patients’ healthcare experience and boost healthcare outcomes. Teva commissioned the study to gain deep insights into how people in Europe interact with digital technology in their day-to-day lives and in managing their personal health & well-being. 

Tim White, Head of Digital Experience at Teva Pharmaceuticals Europe, and speaker on a joint NHS-Teva  conference panel discussing digital technologies, patient empowerment and healthcare outcomes, said: “Across Europe, our research shows a generation of young people fully engaged in digital technologies to improve or maintain good health, but they’re not turning to peer-reviewed, professionally recognized healthcare resources available online. Digital technology is creating the ‘connected patient’ who’s having a greater say in managing his or her own care. So it’s our responsibility to work together with European healthcare providers to build confidence, foster healthcare literacy and ensure that information and health technologies accessed by people of all ages is reliable and trusted.”

Teva believes a key to better health outcomes is patient-empowerment, backed by digital technologies that can lead to a more integrated, efficient and patient-centered approach to healthcare. Tim White, at Teva continued, “If we are to empower people across Europe to feel more in control of their health, we need foster greater healthcare literacy, and provide them with the right information and tools that they trust. Unfortunately, the extent to which Europeans feel in control of their health today varies widely, with our research showing over two thirds of Germans describe themselves as having high control over their health, while less than half were as confident in France and Russia.4 That isn’t good enough when the health technologies available today have the power to support people to better understand their health than ever before.”

On day two of the conference, Teva along with NHS England, will co-host a panel discussion to explore how to digitally empower patients and clinicians to drive improved health outcomes. In commenting on the survey findings, Juliet Bauer, the newly appointed Director of Digital Experience at NHS England, who will participate in the panel discussion, said “Simplicity for the patient is critical. The adoption of digital technology presents us with a very real opportunity to guide people to the right place, support them to make the right decisions and transform that consumer experience.  In everyday life we rely on high qualitydigital journeys to access services and information we need. In health and care we have some serious catching up to do. I know the task is significant but the commitment is clear. The investment in paperless 2020, the strong partnerships across health and care organisations, the department of health and industry, all combined with technology that is evolving…. these are exciting times.” Wayne Middleton, Non-Executive Director of the Patient Information Forum, and another panel participant added, “For people to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing choices, they need access to high-quality, clearly communicated, and evidence-based healthcare information. But healthcare information needs to be understandable and accessible for patients and the general public, otherwise it won’t resonate with them. That’s why patients and laypeople have a key part to play in any healthcare literacy programmes and campaigns – even more so as digital technologies put patients more in the driving seat in managing their own health and well-being.”

About Teva

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE and TASE: TEVA) is a leading global pharmaceutical company that delivers high-quality, patient-centric healthcare solutions to millions of patients every day. Headquartered in Israel, Teva is the world’s largest generic medicines producer, leveraging its portfolio of more than 1,800 molecules to produce a wide range of generic products in nearly every therapeutic area. In specialtymedicines, Teva has a world-leading position in innovative treatments for disorders of the central nervous system, including pain, as well as a strong portfolio of respiratory products. Teva integrates its generics and specialtycapabilities in its global research and development division to create new ways of addressing unmet patient needs by combining drug development capabilities with devices, services and technologies. Teva's net revenues in 2015 amounted to $19.7 billion. For more information, visit 

The study

The study was conducted by Edelman Intelligence, a specialist research firm based in London as part of a global study in 9 markets (UK, USA, Chile, Israel, Mexico, Germany, France, Poland, Russia) and a total of 9,000 respondents.  

The Patient Information Forum (PIF)

The Patient Information Forum (PIF) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that believes that high quality health and care information and support should be available to everyone.  The PIF membership body is now over 550 strong, and members come from across all sectors, representing every kind of information and support producer and provider, from the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) to large international companies, health charities to health departments, researchers to freelance medical writers. For further information, please visit: 

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  1. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., ‘Locking in Audiences’ Survey, July 2016, Q7
  2. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., ‘Locking in Audiences’ Survey, July 2016, Q15
  3. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., ‘Locking in Audiences’ Survey, July 2016, Q8
  4. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., ‘Locking in Audiences’ Survey, July 2016, Q29