Liz Lynne MEP

Brussels Declaration Calls on Policymakers to Make Asthma a Priority for the EU

    Brussels (ots/PRNewswire) - Led by British MEP Liz Lynne, medical experts and representatives of relevant patient and professional associations today called on the European Commission and the Council to recognise asthma as a serious public health issue. The statement is part of the Brussels Declaration, a 10-point action plan for improving asthma management across Europe. The Declaration says that better management of asthma could free up more than eight million hospital days each year.(1) It also calls for EU guidelines to be brought up-to-date in order to reduce the annual EUR17.7 billion cost of asthma treatment in Europe.

    The Brussels Declaration captures the key conclusions of the 'Summit for Change in Asthma Management', a pivotal meeting held in the European Parliament in October 2006 which for the first time brought together high-ranking politicians, clinicians, regulatory experts and patient representatives to discuss current concerns related to asthma.

    Asthma is a respiratory manifestation of systemic inflammatory processes, which is increasing throughout the world in all age groups, particularly in children. Whilst 95 percent of asthma should be controllable given access to appropriate medical care, its prevalence in Europe is thought to have doubled in the last ten years. (2)

    "With one person estimated to die of asthma every hour in Western Europe, we can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to this urgent public health issue," said Liz Lynne MEP (UK, ALDE) at the launch of the Brussels Declaration.

    The Brussels Declaration calls on the Commission and the Council to set annual targets for improvement in asthma control across the EU and encourage Member States to adapt best practice solutions in asthma in their own healthcare systems. Liz Lynne MEP said: "Asthma is a great case example for the European Commission to profile itself as broker of best practice. The EU can make a real difference that way."

    Presenting preliminary findings of the report by the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) on Asthma in the EU, Senior Research Fellow Jorgen Mortensen added: "In order to increase the impact of EU public health policy on major diseases such as asthma it appears appropriate to reconsider the current approach and return to more disease-specific initiatives."

    The Brussels Declaration also calls upon the European Commission to update the European Medicines Agency's (EMEA) regulatory guidance note on asthma to take account of the latest clinical evidence. CEPS Senior Research Fellow Andrea Renda said: "Greater transparency of EMEA procedures can help to deepen stakeholder involvement and further improve the EU's regulatory activities in this field."

    Prof. Tari Haahtela from the University of Helsinki and coordinator of the innovative Finnish Asthma Programme which is widely regarded as a best practice example, stated: "Putting the individual patient at the centre of all considerations is the key to success; introducing guided self-management of the disease its driver."

    Svein-Erik Myrseth, President of the European Federation of the Allergy and Airway Diseases Patients Association (EFA) added: "Patients should not only be seen as recipient of care, but also as a unique source of information, which is vital for successful disease management."

    Siân Williams from the International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG) pointed out: "Education of healthcare professionals in primary care will be essential when improving diagnosis and control of asthma in Europe as they are commonly the first contact for patients."

    To see the full declaration, please visit: www.summitforchange.eu

    Notes to Editors:

    The Summit for Change in Asthma Management and Brussels Declaration Steering group comprises:

@@start.t1@@      Liz Lynne                              MEP, West Midlands, UK
      Professor Stephen Holgate    MRC Clinical Professor of
                                                  Immunopharmacology, University of
                                                  Southampton, UK
      Professor Hans Bisgaard        University of Copenhagen, Denmark
      Professor Leif Bjermer         University of Lund, Sweden
      Professor Tari Haahtela        University of Helsinki, Finland
      Professor Rob Horne              Professor of Behavioural Medicine, Department
                                                  of Policy and Practice, The School of
                                                  Pharmacy, University of London
      Professor Andrew McIvor        McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
                                                  Chairman of Canadian Thoracic Society Asthma
                                                  Committee
      Svein-Erik Myrseth                President of the European Federation of the
                                                  Allergy and Airway Diseases Patients
                                                  Association (EFA), Norway
      Susanna Palkonen                  Executive Officer of the European Federation
                                                  of the Allergy and Airway Diseases Patients
                                                  Association (EFA), Belgium
      Professor David Price          Professor of Primary Care Respiratory
                                                  Medicine, University of Aberdeen,
                                                  International Primary Care Respiratory Group
                                                 (IPCRG), UK
      Dr. Mike Thomas                    Asthma UK Research Fellow Department General
                                                  Practice and Primary Care, University of
                                                  Aberdeen, UK
      Dr. Erkka Valovirta              Chairman of the Allergy Section of the
                                                  Finnish Society of Paediatrics, Finland
      Professor Ulrich Wahn          Charité Berlin, Germany
      Siân Williams                        Executive Officer of the International
                                                  Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG)@@end@@

    (1) European Federation of the Allergy and Airway Diseases Patients Association (EFA). Available at: www.efanet.org

    (2) Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) 2006. Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention. Available from: http://www.ginasthma.org. World Health Organisation. Let Everybody Breathe: World Asthma Day. Available from: http://www.who.int/inf-pr-2000/en/pr2000-29.html

ots Originaltext: Liz Lynne MEP
Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.ch

Contact:
For further information please contact: Pia Holmen, Tel:
+32-477-281-535, Email: pholmen@hillandknowlton.com



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