On 25 May 2021, a virtual debate titled “An EU heart health plan to tackle Europe's number one killer” was organised by think tank Friends of Europe.
Supported by the European Society of Cardiology, the European Heart Network and MedTech Europe, the event brought together policymakers from the European Parliament and European Commission, healthcare professionals, industry representatives, and patient groups, to discuss the creation of a stand-alone EU action plan for cardiovascular diseases, the leading cause of death in the EU. Structural heart diseases are a set of cardiovascular diseases, often occurring in elderly people.
Discussants agreed on the urgent need to tackle cardiovascular diseases, and the need for strong EU collaboration leveraging current EU policies and funding instruments such as EU4Health and the Next Generation Recovery Funds in order to find solutions throughout the cardiovascular disease pathway, going from research to prevention, early detection, and diagnosis as well as access to treatment and care in order to tackle the burden of cardiovascular diseases.
Invited as a speaker to the event, political supporter of the EU SHD Coalition, MEP Brando Benifei (S&D, Italy) supported the creation of a stand-alone policy plan for cardiovascular diseases and focused on the need to tackle age-related heart diseases such as structural heart diseases. He reiterated the key messages of his 2019 health manifesto and the SHD Coalition, arguing that “no EU citizen should die from lack of a heart health check and detection must become the mantra of a CVD plan in an ageing society. Early detection, data sharing and patient registries should be at the core of an EU Joint Action on SHD.”
His call for more action on heart diseases was echoed by other Members of European Parliament, such as MEP Juozas Olekas (S&D, Lithuania), MEP Manuel Pizarro (S&D, Portugal) and MEP Isabel Carvalhais (S&D, Portugal) and acknowledged by the European Commission.
For more information, please consult Friends of Europe’s website here.
The video recording of the event can be found here.