New industry network committed to address Europe’s number one killer: Cardiovascular related diseases

  • New Network in EFPIA joins the fight against heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular related diseases in Europe
  • Aim is to raise awareness of the burden of CVD on society, call for an EU CVD plan to improve cardiovascular health, advise policymakers and mobilize investments in prevention, early detection and treatment

Committed to address Europe’s number one killer, cardiovascular diseases, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) has initiated a CVD Network which will work together with stakeholders around the continent to improve policy and outcomes for patients. This network comprises six founding members – Amgen, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi.

“It is our joint vision to partner with all relevant stakeholders in order to address CVD as the biggest cause of death, acknowledging that more than 60 million people live with CVD in Europe, causing 47% of all deaths in women and 39% in men on the continent”, says Christian Thonke, Chair of the newly founded CVD Network within EFPIA.

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, “we need to understand that we are facing an ‘acute-on-chronic disease emergency’”, Thonke adds. CVD patients are hit from two sides. Firstly, they belong to the most vulnerable SARS-CoV-19 infections groups. Secondly, many patients experienced delays to care and treatment during the lockdown phases of the pandemic, which has consequently worsened their condition.

“We want to bring this vision to life in partnership with healthcare systems, improving care delivery and ensuring fast as well as equal access to innovative treatments for better patient outcomes”, Manuela Machado, Co-Chair of the CVD Network, continues.

A focus area of the CVD Network will be building the evidence to drive better policy proposals and innovative solutions, supporting CVD-patients, their caregivers as well as health-care professionals. This will be done through collaborations with all relevant stakeholders in the CVD-field. In this regard, EFPIA has decided to co-found the European Alliance on CV Health (EACH) to boost policy action and awareness together with 15 other partner organizations.

“While we are reaching out to our partners to establish new forms of collaborations, we aim to improve prevention, detection, access to treatment and rehabilitation, ultimately enabling a better quality of life for the patients”, Machado says.

It is of great importance that scientific societies, policy-makers, healthcare professionals, patient groups and the industry come together and join their efforts to reduce the alarming numbers of cardiovascular disease. Today still enhanced by the COVID pandemic.

Therefore, the CVD network echoes the call to action of the European Alliance on CV Health and is committed to

  • focus on prevention, early detection, access to treatment and rehabilitation with the aim to enable a better quality of life for CVD patients.
  • build the evidence to support policy proposals and recommend innovative solutions to policy makers and healthcare systems, like public-private partnerships in CVD innovation
  • partner with healthcare systems to achieve more efficient healthcare solutions to tackle CVD primary and secondary prevention in Europe.
  • promote equal access and rapid uptake of innovative medicines, following state-of-the-art science and expertise in CVD treatment.
  • raise awareness of the burden of CVD on society.
  • call for an EU CVD Plan to improve cardiovascular health.

Cardiovascular diseases:

CVD is a group of conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels – they prominently include heart attacks and strokes, as well as arrhythmias and congenital heart disease. CVD is closely interlinked with other chronic diseases, such as diabetes or kidney disease, but also vascular dementia which is often caused by heart disease and stroke.

CVD is the leading cause of death worldwide. In 2019, an estimated 17.9 million people died from CVD, representing 32% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85% were due to heart attack and stroke.[1] CVD is also the leading cause of death in the European region, accounting for 47% of all deaths in women and 39% in men.[2]

In the EU, CVD accounts for 36% of all deaths and impacts the lives of some 60 million people who live with cardiovascular conditions. CVD is not limited to the elderly, but heavily impacts people of all ages. Around 20% of all premature deaths (before the age of 65) in the EU are caused by CVD.[3]


[1] World Health Organization Fact Sheets:

[2] ESC Cardiovascular Realities 2020:  

[3] ESC-EHN, Fighting Cardiovascular Disease: a blueprint for EU action: