The European Parliament saw leading respiratory organisations and policy makers unite this week to present and discuss the need for a comprehensive strategy to combat the growing epidemic of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Participants from across Europe, including representatives from national professional organisations, patient associations and physicians, attended the open forum meeting, hosted by Catherine Stihler, Member of the European Parliament.
Catherine Stihler, a leading advocate within the European Parliament on COPD and Chairman of the open forum event commented: “With the relevance of COPD underestimated, amidst differing standards affecting patient care, a joint effort is needed to address this burdensome disease for patients and their families.
“Across national and European levels, limitations in policies need to be challenged and obstacles to effective care need to be removed.
“What we need is a robust policy framework to allow healthcare professionals to identify patients earlier and make the necessary interventions to tackle this disease effectively.”
COPD affects nearly 44 million people in Europe1 and is predicted by the World Health Organization (WHO) to become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 20302.
In spite of these alarming figures, significant discrepancies exist across Europe in the understanding of the scope and impact of the disease, its diagnosis and effective management of the condition.
COPD costs almost €50 billion annually and accounts for approximately 41.3% of all lost working days every year in Europe.
Estimating the overall cost of COPD needs to account for both direct costs (such as treatment and hospital costs) and indirect costs (such as loss of work days and disability) to fully understand the implications for healthcare systems and national economies.
“To address the escalating socio-economic burden of COPD, we need a clear and implementable strategy across Europe.
“The European Respiratory Society and the European Lung Foundation, in cooperation with European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations, are working in partnership to improve education about COPD.
“By ensuring the latest research is accessible to a wide audience, we can help make COPD a health priority across Europe,” stated Marc Decramer, President of the European Respiratory Society (ERS).