Brussels, 10 December 2014 – Today, in an event hosted by MEP Cristian Buşoi (EPP, RO) in the European Parliament, the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) (1) launched the ‘Research Roadmap for Liver Disease (HEPAMAP) - Case study for chronic diseases & research’ (2). The HEPAMAP stresses the need for further research on liver disease and calls on policy makers to step up their efforts to tackle the disease and its links with lifestyle and other disease, like cardiovascular conditions and cancer.
Liver diseases are extremely costly in terms of human suffering, premature loss of productivity, and general practitioner as well as hospital visits. In 2013, 29 million people in the EU were documented as suffering from a chronic liver condition (3).
“Many EU citizens are now aware of conditions such as viral hepatitis and liver cirrhosis. However, there is a wide range of other liver conditions about which we know little. HEPAMAP shows where we need to be looking and where we need to improve both in terms of research and policy initiatives,” (4) said Mr Buşoi, who is also Chair of the informal interest group on liver disease in the European Parliament.
HEPAMAP identifies opportunities to significantly reduce liver mortality and decrease the burden of liver conditions in the EU by the end of 2020, with particular emphasis on tackling alcohol- and obesity-related liver conditions with evidence-based policy measures.
In 2013, liver cirrhosis accounted for around 170,000 deaths in Europe and liver cancer accounted for around 47,000 deaths in the EU (5). Preventing these deaths would not only have enormous benefits for Europe’s citizens: it would save the EU and Member States’ economies billions of Euros in health and social care costs.
“Liver disease causes tremendous suffering. The quality of life, productivity and potential of millions of people in Europe could be improved through world-class science, innovation, and research. I hope that HEPAMAP raises awareness of the need to better fund liver research and obtain commitments from decision and policy makers to do so,” concluded Professor Markus Peck-Radosavljevic, EASL Secretary General.
(1) The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) is a membership organisation for hepatology health professionals based in Geneva (Switzerland). EASL currently has just over 4,000 members from over 100 countries. The EASL annual congress now attracts over 10,000 participants and is the biggest medical liver congress in the world. EASL will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2015.
(3) Foreword, Cristian Silviu Bușoi (MEP): HEPAMAP, Prospects for Liver Disease Research in the EU
(4) HEPAMAP outlines three ways for EU policy makers to support the liver disease research in the context of: 1) Horizon 2020 – the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, under the programme section: Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing; 2) the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 – Europe’s largest public-private initiative; 3) and national research funding mechanisms.
Fiona Godfrey, Director of European Public Affairs at European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) on +35 269 149 0948. Twitter: @fjgodfrey