Institut Cochin DPGM, Inserm, 24, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Jacques, 75014 Paris.
First genetic diseases identified, and thoroughly explored since half a century, haemoglobinopathies have produced an enormous and paradigmatic amount of scientific and clinical results. Noticeably, however, the public health problem they raise is roughly as important as it was, although slightly different. Real improvements are actually due mostly to a very careful daily management, and specific therapies are still in a very initial step. Epidemiological considerations and a practical strategic approach are envisaged in view of this public health problem. Such an assessment is an absolute requirement before the efficient use of novel therapeutic strategies.