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IOF calls for concerted support for second EU osteoporosis audit

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) has urged all 27 EU countries to continue to seek government recognition and action to overcome the growing burden that osteoporosis places on health systems throughout Europe, as work continues on the second report to measure the status of osteoporosis management across member states.

The IOF is working with EU Osteoporosis Consultation Panel members to prepare the report, Osteoporosis in the European Union in 2008: Ten years of progress and ongoing challenges, for launch on the occasion of World Osteoporosis Day 2008. This report will compare current findings with the original Eight Recommendations published in 1998 by the European Commission and the Osteoporosis in the European Community: A Call to Action, published in 2001, to assess progress in diagnosis, treatment, reimbursement policies, research, and education.

Speaking today in Brussels at the meeting of the EU Osteoporosis Consultation Panel, Professor John Kanis, IOF President, noted, "Across Europe, osteoporosis is a major public health problem with serious medical and economic impact. While there have been many advances in the management of osteoporosis over the past 10 years, important care gaps still exist."

For example, the recommended number of bone mineral density (BMD) machines is 10.6 machines per one million inhabitants. While this has improved since 2001, only 12 countries report BMD availability beyond 10.6. Similarly, although effective, evidence-based treatments are widely available throughout the EU, there are often restrictive criteria for reimbursement, especially before the first fracture occurs, setting the stage for untreated patients being at higher risk for subsequent fractures. While 19 out of 27 countries report that these treatments are available before the first fracture, restrictions based on age or bone density testing often make them inaccessible.

Professor Juliet Compston, Chair of the EU Osteoporosis Consultation Panel, IOF Board Member and Professor of Bone Medicine, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, added, "The impact of osteoporosis throughout the EU represents a significant drain on healthcare budgets. However, highly effective treatments are now available and significant savings can be made by preventing fractures, rather than treating them."

In 2000, throughout the region, there were an estimated 620,000 new hip fractures; 574,000 forearm fractures; 250,000 shoulder fractures; and 620,000 spinal fractures in men and women aged 50 years or over, accounting for 34.8% of such fractures worldwide.1 There are more than 2.7 million osteoporotic fractures in men and women in Europe at a direct cost of 36 billion euros.2 It is estimated that by 2050, direct costs related to hip fractures will increase to 76.7 billion euros.3

As part of today's Brussels meeting, EU Osteoporosis Consultation Panel members were joined by members of the European Parliament Osteoporosis Interest Group, all party MEPs who have supported health policy reform on osteoporosis.


Contact: janice blondeau
International Osteoporosis Foundation

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