[EASL Press Release]
Launch of the MEP Friends of the Liver Interest group to tackle a silent epidemic
Brussels 27th May - The MEP Friends of the Liver Interest Group (1)
was launched today at the European Parliament in Brussels in an event
hosted by the Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Dr Cristian-Silviu
Busoi (EPP, RO), calls on the European Parliament to use its
significant powers raise awareness about liver disease and advocate for
EU policies to ensure that all patients have access to the best
treatments and medicines.
Previously chaired by Stephen Hughes from the UK Labour Party, the
group was formed in February 2013 and has been reformed after the
election of the new Parliament in 2014. The new co-chairs are Romanian
EPP member, Dr Cristian-Silviu Busoi and Dr Biljana Borzan, an S&D
group member from Croatia. Subsequent meetings will look at the role of
food and obesity in liver disease and its links with diabetes and heart
disease and the need for an EU strategy on viral hepatitis (HCV) and
access to medicines for HCV.
Liver disease is a neglected and growing public health problem.
Besides well-known diseases such as liver cirrhosis, it also includes
Hepatitis B (HBV) & Hepatitis C (HCV), liver cancer and fatty liver
disease. (2) "As a doctor and policy maker, who has seen the extent
of liver disease across the EU, I delighted to be chairing this
important and needed Friends of the Liver group,"
said Mr. Busoi.
Preventing these deaths would have enormous benefits for Europe’s
citizens as well as saving the EU and Member States’ economies billions
of Euros in health and social care costs. Not to mention the benefits
from development of diagnostics and safer new drugs that could treat and
save patients and be marketed around the world. "Liver disease is a
huge problem in the EU and I am looking forward to working with the
Friends of the Liver group to help fix that,"
said Ms Borzan, Co-Chair of the group.
The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) (3) will
be the Secretariat of the newly formed group. In December 2014, EASL
launched the ’Research Roadmap for Liver Disease (HEPAMAP) - Case study
for chronic diseases & research’ (4). 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
disease is a silent epidemic affecting millions of patients that needs
more attention at EU level. EASL looks forward to working with the
Friends of the Liver group to change this,"
concluded Mr Laurent CASTERA, EASL Secretary-General.
(1) The MEP Friends of the Liver Interest group
in the European Parliament is a group of MEPs with an interest in liver
disease and its underlying causes. The aim of the group is to raise
awareness amongst their colleagues and the European Commission of liver
disease and to identify and advocate for European Union policies that
can help prevent it and improve treatment.
(2) In the European region there are an estimated 15 million people
suffering from HBV and almost 8 million EU citizens are infected with
HCV. There are 47,000 deaths in the EU each year from liver cancer and
170,000 deaths from liver cirrhosis. We estimate that over 100 million
EU residents suffer from fatty liver disease due to obesity and
(3) 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.
(4) HEPAMAP: Prospects for Liver Disease Research in the EU
Fiona Godfrey, Director of European Public Affairs at European
Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) on +35 269 149 0948.
Future meetings will take place on a regular basis. Follow the group on Twitter to stay updated @MEPLiverGroup #LiverFriends