ECDA , the European Chronic Disease Alliance, calls for more EU action on UN Targets to reduce deaths

The European Commission is organizing the first EU Summit on Chronic Diseases this week. ECDA welcomes the Commission’s initiative to organize the Summit, which we hope to be a step towards an EU framework to allow the EU to make a significant impact in reaching the United Nations goal of a 25 percent reduction in premature mortality from chronic diseases by 2025.

Chronic diseases are interrelated, have common risk factors and are largely preventable.

Yet, in Europe, 9 people out of 10 die of a chronic disease. Chronic diseases carry significant human costs (human suffering, reduced workforce, social exclusion, health inequalities etc.). As a consequence 70% to 80% of healthcare costs are spent on chronic diseases. This corresponds to €700 billion in the European Union and this number is expected to rise in the coming years (*). 97% of health expenses are presently spent on treatment, only 3% is invested in prevention(**).

Speaking ahead of the Summit, the Acting Chairman of ECDA, Prof Em Norbert Lameire stated:
The EU needs a framework in order to successfully tackle chronic diseases and such a framework must be developed by 2017 in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders. We strongly believe that this is best the way to achieve the UN targets on reducing
deaths from chronic diseases. Furthermore, one part of the framework, and a way for the European Commission to be proactive on the UN targets, would be for them to make greater use of legal bases and the wide variety of instruments available under the Treaty to improve public health and support Member State actions.”

* Never too early: tackling chronic diseases to extend health life years’ The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2012

** ‘Together for Health: A Strategic Approach for the EU 2008-2013’, White paper, European Commission, COM(2007) 630 final


Note to editors:

About ECDA
The European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA) is a Brussels-based alliance of 11 European health organizations representing major chronic diseases such as: liver disease, kidney disease, respiratory disease, COPD, allergic diseases, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancer, and diabetes. Together, we represent over millions patients and over 100,000 health professionals.
In 2010 the alliance’s members joined forces to put the case for immediate political action to reverse the alarming rise in chronic diseases which affects more than a third of the population of Europe – over 100 million citizens. ECDA plays a leading role in the prevention and reduction of chronic diseases by providing policy recommendations based on contemporary evidence. Its main
priorities are primary and secondary prevention related to chronic diseases and the common risk factors – tobacco use, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, and environmental factors.
For further information contact the Secretariat:
Tel.: + 32-2 213 13 12

On 3rd and 4th of April 2014, the European COPD Coalition is attending a European Summit on chronic diseases, in Brussels. Held by the European Commission directorate for health (DG SANCO), the event aims at presenting the European policies put in place to tackle the epidemic and to explore ways to address chronic diseases effectively in the EU and will be concluded by recommendations for national and EU decision makers.

ECC will be present at the summit with a small booth and through its membership at EPHA (the European Public Health Alliance) and at ECDA (the European Chronic Disease Alliance) which Presidents are speaking at the summit.

The ECC visual developed for the event (see photo) focuses on the fact that COPD is  a major chronic disease, often neglected by policy makers: third chronic disease in the EU in terms of prevalence, third cause of death worldwide, by 2030 according to the World Health Organisation (WHO)* it should be much more prominent on the EU agenda. Respecting the scaleof other diseases, ECC wishes to raise awareness about the importance of COPD as a long term, not curable condition.

ECC had the opportunity to share its views and recommendations on how to address chronic diseases with the Summit organisers, ahead of the summit, in addition to contributing to the debate initiated by an EU consultation with a one-day conference held in 2012**.

ECC calls for a European framework on chronic diseases, adopting a holistic approach and with a specific chapter on COPD. Only a coordinated, health in all policy methodology will allow actions and policies to have a meaningful impact.

COPD shares several risk factors with other illnesses, such a cardio-vascular diseases, cancers and diabetes; they are often co-morbidities.  These risk factors (smoking, alcohol, lack of physical activity, poor eating habits, air quality) are at the core of prevention policies and therefore, essential to halt the onset of chronic diseases. ECC calls on Member States to dedicated more funds to disease prevention while not neglecting  good quality care, health research and promotion to avoid health inequalities.

Please sign ECC’s Call To Action on COPD to show your support to the 21 measures ECC has put forward to address the burden of the disease.




The European COPD Coalition calls for action and support from the EU decision makers to help fight the disease and reduce its financial, social and psychological impact.

Health policy decision- makers must support patients, their families, carers and the entire society impacted by the burden of the disease, by creating a framework programme that will be aimed at eliminating avoidable COPD incidence and premature death.

The European COPD Coalition’s Call to Action  seeks political impetus to put in place the right structure addressing all aspects of COPD. This framework should aim to improve the health and quality of life of European citizens, including persons at risk of, or affected by, COPD. Based on the common European values of universal healthcare, access to good quality care, equity and solidarity, and encouraging innovation, the COPD framework  should encompass health promotion, disease prevention, medical and psychological support, and the social and environmental aspects of the disease.

ECC Call to Action promotes 21 concrete measures to be put in place or supported by the European Union, in full cooperation with Member States, regulating bodies and stakeholders.

Read the call


Image used by courtesy of ASHDuring a Plenary Session in Strasbourg today 26 February 2014, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to adopt the new Tobacco Products Directive as agreed with the EU Member States in December 2013.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted by 514 in favour to 66 against, with 58 abstentions, to approve the legal text. They also backed  the controversial new provision on the regulation of e-cigarettes (depending on existing national legislation, they can be under medicinal products or under tobacco products legislations). EU member states will retain the possibility to adopt more stringent measures to regulate tobacco products, such as standardized packaging.

As the agreement reached in December was today endorsed in its entirety by the Parliament, the new legislation now awaits formal adoption by the Member States in the Council, which is expected to take place in March or April. The Directive’s rules for tobacco products and e-cigarettes will then enter into force in stages from 2016 onwards. (more…)

On Wednesday 26 February, the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will vote in plenary on the finalised legal textof the revised Directive on Tobacco Products ( Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrtive provisions of the Member States concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products and repealing Directive 2001/37/EC).

In support of this vote, ECC wrote the following to MEPs: (more…)