Osteoporosis :: IOF and EU panel prepare osteoporosis audit

The EU Osteoporosis Consultation Panel, supported by the International Osteoporosis Foundation, is meeting on April 18 in Brussels, Belgium, to begin preparations for a second EU-wide audit on the status of osteoporosis in Europe.

In the European U nion, someone has a fracture as a result of osteoporosis every 30 seconds, and with an ageing population, the annual number of hip fractures (the most serious form of osteoporosis-related fracture) in the EU is expected to more than double from approximately 500,000 to 1,000,000 over the next 50 years.

?Aside from its personal and human cost, osteoporosis is a major public health problem in Europe, with enormous social and economic impact. We urge policy makers to recognize that significant money can be saved by preventing fractures, rather than treating them,? noted IOF Chief Executive Officer Daniel Navid.

In 1998 the European Community issued a report on osteoporosis (the first such single-disease report) which included eight recommendations for action by health officials. IOF, recognizing that the recommendations had not been widely implemented, supported the European U nion Audit, published in 2001 by the EU Osteoporosis Consultation Panel, comprised of EU osteoporosis scientists and health policy experts. This Audit reviewed progress of the eight recommendations, a comparison ?report card? for the (then) 15 EU countries, and a Call to Action that urged all EU member states to make the prevention and management of osteoporosis and related fractures a healthcare priority. Since then, knowledge about the incidence and risk factors for osteoporotic fractures has increased, as well as therapeutic options for prevention and treatment. As well, the EU has expanded from the original 15 members to the current 27.

In 2000, IOF estimated that the number of osteoporotic fractures in Europe was 3.79 million of which 890,000 were hip fractures. The total direct costs resulting from these fractures were estimated at ?31.7 billion (?21 billion) which were expected to increase to ?76.7 billion (?51 billion) in 2050 based on the expected changes in the demography of Europe.

?We need this new EU Osteoporosis Audit to evaluate current standards of osteoporosis management in Europe,? said Professor Juliet Compston, chair of the EU Osteoporosis Consultation Panel. Professor Compston, who is an IOF Board member, added ?While some states have made remarkable progress in osteoporosis prevention and treatment policy, overall we are concerned that not enough progress has been made, and this comprehensive snapshot will enable members to assess developments over the years, and identify areas that require more attention.?

The audit will measure prevalence of fractures, accessibility of diagnostic testing, availability and access to evidence based therapies, economic costs, and national health ministry support as well as public and professional education.

Mary Honeyball, MEP UK, and co-chair of the Osteoporosis Interest Group of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), welcomed the Panel?s efforts to prepare an EU Audit that will help policy makers better understand the impact of osteoporosis at the EU level.

The audit is expected to take several months to complete, with the data being officially launched on the occasion of World Osteoporosis Day 2008. The theme for IOF?s World Osteoporosis Outreach Campaign 2008-2009 is Stand Tall, Speak Out for Your Bones which will focus on policy change. This 2nd European U nion Osteoporosis Audit will be a significant contribution to advance osteoporosis policy not only in Europe but internationally as a model of regional cooperation.

Leave a Comment