Even in 2019, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) remain the number 1 killer globally, accounting for almost 2 million deaths in the EU alone every year.
These diseases are linked to huge inequalities, with more cardiovascular-related deaths in women than men, and more CVD-related deaths in middle-income than high-income countries, as a recent study from the European Society of Cardiology shows. Meanwhile, the burden of cardiovascular diseases amounts to €210 billion per year, due to healthcare costs, productivity loss, and informal care by caregivers.
As Chair of the MedTech Europe Cardiovascular Sector Group, I and our group believe that time is running out to ensure concrete policy and regulatory action that will relieve the burden of cardiovascular disease, for once and for all.
It is only by working together – industry, public authorities, and policy-makers,- with patients and all stakeholders that we can achieve this goal, and help to keep workers, and citizens of all ages, in good health and out of hospital, regardless of gender, income, or country.
With the EU Institutions working up their 2020 – 2024 agenda, our group believes that it is the optimal time to call for the 3 following common actions that could help to achieve that goal:
1. Better understand the burden of cardiovascular diseases and facilitate access to comprehensive and regular checks. Most of these diseases have much better prognosis, higher treatment success and lower social cost when diagnosed and treated early, so there is a real business and societal case to introduce such checks for populations at risk.
2. Improve quality of life of patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases and improve efficiencies in care through fast access to innovation. Today, too many patients with unmet medical needs do not have access to the treatment they deserve because of inefficiencies in the access and care pathway. The EU should help take these away by introducing Early Feasibility Studies in Europe, improving education for healthcare professionals and patients, and promoting better integrated care across the care cycle.
3. Reward technologies and innovations for the clinical and economic value they bring to patients, hospitals, and the broader healthcare system. Medical technologies have been disruptive in the way they improve the life of patients and bring value to the broader society. For example, in the cardiovascular disease space, minimal invasive therapies have massively reduced average lengths of stay in the hospital – helping people to go back to their normal lives, reducing risks of acquiring infections, and freeing up hospital capacity. Disruptive innovations should be rewarded for the full value they bring and be accounted for in specific payment schemes.
I am convinced that achieving these aims will reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease that weighs heavily, both on countless patients and healthcare systems. I look forward to working in partnership with authorities and stakeholders to deliver on this positive call-to-action.
The medtech industry provides solutions to the burden of cardiovascular disease on individuals, families and the wider economy. Read our full call-to-action: Cardiovascular Disease Burden in Europe