EFPIA calls for an ambitious EU approach to the challenge of NCDs
According to WHO Europe, the European Region is the most affected by NCDs globally. The major NCDs (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, and neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's Disease) account for 86% of deaths and 77% of the disease burden in the Region. In addition to the personal toll that NCDs are having, they also inflict immense pressure on healthcare systems, both financially and structurally, due to the long duration and complications of the conditions. At the same time, with an ageing population, the prevalence of these diseases will continue to grow.
The scale of the NCDs challenge calls for a coordinated response that enables strong policy alignment across Europe with ambitious targets. The renewed political attention through the EU NCDs initiative is highly encouraging as a first step in the process towards a broader ambitious framework, but must go further. Post COVID-19, European healthcare systems need a strong political mandate to reorganise care pathways towards improved integration of services, patient experiences and health outcomes for people with chronic conditions. Sustainable, EU-wide change must be enabled by strong political commitment and accountability towards setting specific, comparable, impactful key indicators and targets for NCDs in the EU NCDs Initiative.
EFPIA believes the EU NCDs Initiative has the potential to place considerable focus on health promotion and disease prevention, which is one of the most efficient ways to reduce the impact that NCDs have on people, health systems and economies. It will be crucial that the initiative also prioritises secondary prevention. Better screening for earlier detection, timely diagnosis, as well as access to innovative treatments can make a meaningful difference for patients’ health outcomes and quality of life. By appropriately and effectively managing a disease, we can significantly improve long-term health outcomes, and avoid complications that lead to unnecessary healthcare costs. Fundamentally, it is a vital step towards rebuilding more resilient and more sustainable healthcare and social systems.
The members of EFPIA’s disease-specific working groups look forward to working together with the NCDs stakeholder community, the European Commission and Member States in shaping an ambitious new EU approach to the challenge of NCDs.