Conference on gender differences in drugs and medical technology

Published 2013-10-08 00:00. Updated 2013-11-26 10:33

[PRESS INVITATION 4 October 2013] Women and men do not always respond in the same way to drugs or other medical technology products. A conference with leading Swedish and international researchers in the field is to be hosted by Karolinska Institutet to draw attention to these differences and to raise the issue onto the scientific agenda.

Women and men do not always respond in the same way to drugs or other medical technology products. A conference with leading Swedish and international researchers in the field is to be hosted by Karolinska Institutet to draw attention to these differences and to raise the issue onto the scientific agenda.

Many knee prosthetics given to women are designed for men, as are the mesh tubes (stents) used to widen the coronary artery. In fact, there are many examples of medical technology devices that are used for women but tested on men, and the same is true of many drugs. The problem is that treatments are not always suited to women and/or men, who can develop adverse reactions or other types of complication. These and other gender differences are to be discussed at the Sex, Drugs and Medical Devices conference, which has been arranged by the Centre for Gender Medicine, the Swedish Medical Products Agency, the Stockholm County Council and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions.

"Our aim is to generate more interest and awareness of the issue," says Professor Karin Schenck-Gustafsson at Karolinska Institutet. "More knowledge is needed on the sex and gender aspects of drugs and medical technology aids. Relatively simple changes can improve the lives of many women and men."

Professor Schenck-Gustafsson's lecture will mainly deal with the "Genus på Janus" project, a unique online information service and knowledge-bank on the sex and gender aspects of drugs (www.janusinfo.se/genus). The website, which has been designed with the help of researchers from Karolinska Institutet, will initially offer sex and gender-specific information on some 50 pharmaceutical substances.

"What we hope is that "Genus på Janus" will contribute to more personally customised prescriptions, and help to raise awareness of the issue amongst health professionals."

Professor Londa Schiebinger from Stanford University will be talking on the theme Gender in Science and Innovation and presenting http://genderedinnovations.stanford.edu

, a web-based knowledge database, developed together with European colleagues, that acts as a help tool to introduce practical methods of sex and gender analysis for scientists and engineers and provides case studies as concrete illustrations of how sex and gender analysis leads to innovation.

Other participant is Vendela Schnittger, one of the functionaries at the Swedish Medical Products Agency in charge of medical technology development in Sweden.

Also present at the conference will be Stockholm County Council's Executive Member for Healthcare Birgitta Rydberg.

Reporters are welcome to attend the conference.

  • When: Monday 14 October 2013, 08.30 am - 4.30 pm
  • Where: Nobel Forum, Nobels väg 1, Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Stockholm.

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