Call for EU Plan on CVD
FH Europe joins forces with European and international health organizations to call for action to address the increasing burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Rochester, UK 16 June 2021: Today, 12 European and international health organizations signed a joint statement to call on the EU to develop a comprehensive EU Plan on cardiovascular disease1, which is the first cause of death in Europe2 , affecting millions of people.
Although cardiovascular mortality has declined over the past 50 years thanks to investment in better care, preventative strategies and infrastructure for acute care, the disease remains the leading cause of death in the EU. CVD accounts for 36% of all deaths and around 20% of all premature deaths (before the age of 65) in the EU3 . CVD is also linked to huge inequalities. Impacting people of all ages, CVD is set to substantially increase as Europe’s population is ageing.
Cardiovascular disease is not always preventable. Many conditions can be inherited, caused by other chronic conditions or their treatments, others incur due to ageing. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the scenario, causing damage to the hearts and vascular systems of European citizens. Policymakers must act now to prevent cardiovascular disease from becoming the next pandemic.
Therefore, the signatory organisations jointly call on EU decision-makers to develop a comprehensive EU Plan on CVD to ensure that citizens can live longer, healthier lives – regardless of where they are born or live in the EU – and enable them to continue to contribute to society and the economy.
Through this policy plan, ambitious actions should be implemented across prevention, early detection, access to treatment and rehabilitation, to keep people in good health and optimise their quality of life, thereby also strengthening resilience at population level, whilst making efficient use of healthcare resources.
FH Europe’s Chief Executive, Magdalena Daccord says “Our aim is to bring to the attention of the EU policy makers the voice and the needs of our international patient network, their families, and the European citizen. These individuals are impacted by inherited, genetic lipid conditions, primarily Familial Hypercholesterolemia and elevated lipoprotein (a), which are non-modifiable. Through this collaboration, we will act on the recommendations from the Global Call to Action on Familial Hypercholesterolemia4 compiled by the global FH community, , including EAS and EAS FHSC. We want to specifically lobby for childhood screening for FH, based on the FH pediatric screening best practice, accepted by the European Commission Public Health Best Practice Portal5”.
John Reeve, the charity’s Chair continues, “We wish to convince the EU decision-makers of the importance of early screening for FH, and to get their commitment to support paediatric screening implementation on the national level, across all member states, to prevent lifelong consequences of premature CVD.”
“Innovation – data, genomics, algorithms – will transform the traditional image of CVD in the years to come. For most cardiovascular diseases, prevention will become increasingly personalized (compared to the current model “one size fits all”), screening and early detection of diseases will appeal to genetic characteristics and genomic data. In the heterogeneous and complex picture of CVD, FH is already a model in which innovation has entered and could be used as a perfect example. To show value to all European patients and citizens, however, we need collaboration, a new vision, and a unitary implementation of CVD innovations at the level of the European Union” added Marius Geanta, who together with Samuel Gidding co-chairs FH Europe’s Scientific and Public Health Advisory Committee.
It is time to act. The undersigned organisations stand ready to collaborate with EU institutions and national governments for the development and implementation of such a plan to address the burden of cardiovascular disease. We have a unique policy and financial window of opportunity to invest into better cardiovascular care for citizens across the EU. What we now need is the political commitment to make it happen through an EU policy plan on cardiovascular health.
About the signatory organisations:
The signatory organisations represent all aspects of cardiovascular care: from the patients who suffer from the disease to the clinicians and health professionals who take care of them, from health insurers to research organisations, and industries that develop the medical and technological innovations to improve the management and care of CVD.
The signatory organisations will work together to raise awareness of cardiovascular health, and advocate to address the burden of cardiovascular disease.
List of signatories:
- FH Europe – The European Familial hypercholesterolaemia Patient Network
- International Association of Mutual Benefit Societies (AIM)
- European Trade Association representing the medical imaging, radiotherapy, health ICT and electromedical industries (COCIR)
- European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA)
- European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries Associations (EFPIA)
- European Heart Network (EHN)
- European Kidney Health Alliance (EKHA)
- European Society of Cardiology (ESC)
- European Confederation of Pharmaceuticals Entrepreneurs (EUCOPE)
- Global Heart Hub (GHH)
- European Trade Association representing the medical technology industries including diagnostics, medical devices, and digital health (MedTech Europe)
- Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE)
1 Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a group of disorders, all related to the heart and circulatory (vascular) system. Cardiovascular disease takes many forms which include ischemic heart disease (also known as coronary heart disease), different types of stroke, peripheral artery disease, heart rhythm disturbances (e.g. atrial fibrillation), heart failure, congenital heart diseases, inherited (genetic) conditions, valvular heart disease and vascular dementia.
2 Cardiovascular disease facts and figures, MEP Heart Group, https://mepheartgroup.eu/facts-figures/
3 ESC-EHN Blueprint Digital Edition June 2020
4 Reducing the Clinical and Public Health Burden of Familial Hypercholesterolemia, A Global Call to Action, January 2020, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/article-abstract/2758279
5 The Best Practice Portal https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/dyna/bp-portal/#:~:text=The%20Best%20Practice%20Portal%20is,management%20of%20non%2Dcommunicable%20diseases.&text=Practices%20can%20be%20submitted%20for%20assessment%20through%20this%20portal.
FH Europe is supported by an educational grant from Amgen Limited, Sanofi, Regeneron, Akcea Therapeutics Inc. and Amryt