EFPIA welcomes the launch of the EU NCDs Initiative

Yesterday marked an important milestone in Europe’s fight against the rising tide of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) with the official presentation of the ‘Healthier Together’ EU NCDs Initiative.
Speaking about the initiative, EFPIA Director General, Nathalie Moll, said: “The research-based pharmaceutical industry warmly welcomes the new EU NCDs Initiative and the dedicated funding through the EU4Health programme to ensure implementation of its outcomes. I hope that the current momentum for EU action on NCDs will help drive sustainable change towards improved health outcomes for people living with NCDs in all Member States.”
The five strands addressed by the Initiative (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, mental health including neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, and health determinants) account for 86% of deaths and 77% of the disease burden in the Region.[1] The COVID-19 pandemic clearly highlighted the high vulnerability of people living with NCDs to other health threats, and in  financial terms, the budgetary impact of NCDs is immense, as they account for up to 80% of all healthcare spending in the EU – a figure which is projected to increase.[2] Given the EU’s aging population and the associated increase in burden of NCDs[3], Europe needs to maintain its focus on addressing a silent pandemic in the making.
The EU NCDs Initiative shows renewed political attention to NCDs and delivers a broad, integrated policy response across the main NCDs. It adopts an extended scope that includes prevention and health promotion, screening, treatment, and disease management, addressing the entire care pathway for people living with chronic diseases. In synergy, the EU4Health programme has secured significant funding and can become a critical enabler, ensuring that the best practices and policy options outlined in the Initiative are implemented in the coming years, helping the Member States reduce the burden of NCDs and supporting the reduction of health inequalities.
EFPIA believes that we need to POWER UP health systems to address current and future challenges, by making them more focused on the outcomes that matter for people and patients, more patient-centred and integrated, efficient and resilient. Addressing the outcomes that matter for people in the context of the total and long-term costs to health systems and societies from NCDs is fundamental to successfully tackle this challenge, as is continued innovation to tackle unmet health needs and implementation of digital solutions. Looking at the specific diseases covered by the initiative, the  members of EFPIA’s disease-specific working groups look forward to continue 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, through continued engagement in the Initiative and its follow-up actions.