International Symposium

Evidence-Based Medicine Meets Multimorbidity: A Blind Date?

On Wednesday, October 17th, 2012, an international symposium took place at the ´Deutsche Nationalbibliothek´ in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

The symposium was honoured with good attention, both from Germany and abroad. The number of subscriptions was over 130.

The focus of the symposium was on questions that keep (family) doctors and (general practice) researchers busy, like: What should and can be done when my patient has several illnesses simultaneously? What are the problems of multimorbidity and polypharmacy that confront us today? What clinical decision support does evidence-based medicine (EbM) currently provide, and how can EbM contribute in the future? Leading researchers representing both disciplines - EbM and multimorbidity research - have been discussing the dilemmas and challenges that the problem of multimorbidity entails, as well as strategies to overcome them.

The Symposium was part of the Friedrich Merz Foundation's 22nd visiting professorship, to which Professor Marjan van den Akker from Maastricht University was appointed in 2012.

Program [PDF]

Abstract booklet [PDF]

Poster [PDF]



Manfred Schubert-Zsilavecz (Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany), Alexander Gebauer (Merz Pharmaceuticals, Frankfurt/Main, Germany), Ferdinand M. Gerlach (Institute of General Practice, Frankfurt/Main, Germany)

Multimorbidity: the insidious epidemic

Martin Fortin (Department of Family Medicine, Sherbrooke University, Canada) - [PDF]
Comment: Hendrik van den Bussche (Institute of Primary Medical Care, University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany) - [PDF]

Problems of multimorbidity and polypharmacy

Marjan van den Akker (Maastricht University, Netherlands, Katholieke University Leuven, Belgium) - [PDF]
Comment: Petra Thuermann (Institute for Clinical Pharmacology, University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany) - [PDF]

Clinical decision making in real heart failure patients implications of interactions on guideline development

Christiane Muth (Institute of General Practice, Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany)

Addressing multimorbidity in clinical guidelines experience from NICE and future plans

Phil Alderson (National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE), UK - [PDF]

Applying evidence to individual patients with multimorbidity

Paul Glasziou (Centre for Research in Evidence-Based Practice (CREBP), Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia) - [PDF]
Comment: Ulrich Thiem (Department of Geriatrics, Ruhr University of Bochum, Germany) - [PDF]

Research in multimorbidity: dilemmas and challenges

François Schellevis (NetherlandsInstitute for Health Services Research (NIVEL), Utrecht, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands) - [PDF]
Comment: Rafael Perera (Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, UK) - [PDF]

Introduction to the panel discussion

Jose M. Valderas (Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, UK)

Clock hour panel discussion

Monika Lelgemann (Chairman of the German Network of Evidence-Based Medicine, Germany)
Petra Thuermann (Institute for Clinical Pharmacology, University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany)
Phil Alderson, Ferdinand M. Gerlach, Paul Glasziou, Rafael Perera, François Schellevis

Final remarks and farewell

Marjan van den Akker and Christiane Muth

 Scientific committee

Marjan van den Akker, Paul Glasziou and Christiane Muth

 International Workshop

Subsequent to the Symposium a 2-day international workshop on "How to handle patients with multimorbidity in primary care" was conducted. Twenty participants from Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and UK have been discussing this subject. A consensus statement is in progress.

International Research Community on Multimorbidity [link]


Research integrity

The editorially independent scientific committee selected the speakers and organized the program. In line with the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, the speakers have provided disclosure statements on potential conflicts of interest.

The symposium is part of the 22nd Friedrich Merz Foundation's visiting professorship for "General Practice and Health Services Research on Multimorbidity". The visiting professor was selected by a special scientific Board of Trustees consisting of professors from different faculties and appointed by the President of Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main.


The Friedrich Merz Foundation's visiting professorship is to be organized in line with the traditions of charitable foundations of Frankfurt citizens and traces back to the founder of the Merz Pharma GmbH & Co. KGaA, a family business. Since its initiation in 1985, the foundation has earmarked funds for a visiting professorship. These have been transferred directly to the presidential department of the Frankfurt-based Goethe University. This department arranges all financial transactions and supervises and documents that the funds have been used for their intended purpose.