The emergence of COPD as the second largest killer in the world has raised concerns among health experts and patient organisations who have called for an EU-wide approach to tackle the situation.
The European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA) has been particularly vocal in demanding a better harmonisation of care standards for COPD patients by reinforcing preventive measures. That means including spirometry in general health check-ups and supporting patients’ rehabilitation and quit-smoking programmes across the EU.
EU member states have all committed to cutting mortality from non-communicable diseases or NDCs (including cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and COPD) by 25% by 2025 under the WHO’s global NCD action plan.
In the EU, however, health is a national prerogative under the responsibility of member states. The European Commission does not aim to create any new targets for individual diseases such as COPD but to “maximise joint efforts with the member states and stakeholders in reaching these global targets”, a Commission spokesperson told EURACTIV.com.