John J. Nolan, Stefano Del Prato, Juleen R. Zierath from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes e.V. present their approach to address the pandemic of diabetes in Europe today
Diabetes is now pandemic. It affects about 60 million people in Europe (1), with many millions more likely to be afflicted in the next decade. Such a pervasive epidemic can only be addressed by the collaborative action between many agencies – physicians, pharmaceutical companies, charities, research organisations governments and patient associations. These can all contribute towards better management and care. The establishment of a European Diabetes Forum is both necessary and timely.
The worldwide costs of diabetes care have increased more than three-fold since 2006 and account for 6-10% of total health budgets in Europe. With modern therapies, it should already be possible for every person with diabetes to have a good quality of life and to avoid the serious complications of the disease. Despite the availability of many new pharmacological agents for diabetes including a wide variety of insulin preparations and technologies, many people continue to have poor control and the consequences of avoidable complications of the disease.
The European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) is the organisation for research in diabetes in Europe. EASD aims to support high- quality clinical care with the aim of preventing or delaying diabetes and its complications. Through its research foundation (the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes), EASD has already invested €100 million in basic and clinical research since 2000 (2). The society’s journal, Diabetologia, publishes research spanning basic science, translational work and clinical research related to all aspects of diabetes.
The European Diabetes Forum is a new initiative of the EASD, started in 2017, which aims to address the full landscape of diabetes research and clinical care in Europe. The objective is that the Forum will include (in addition to EASD leadership): industry, foundations, patients and patient organisations, government, regulators and payers. The Forum will focus on research priorities and the unmet needs of diabetes (both research and care) on a continent-wide scale. The Forum will take the lead on strategy for research and care and will serve as EASD’s conduit for public engagement with political leaders as well as industry leaders around the globe.
The European Diabetes Forum will place special focus on three core themes: innovation, outcomes and the people with diabetes (patients). Innovation is crucial as a driver for both diabetes research and clinical care. Access to innovation is highly variable throughout Europe. Many stakeholders need to be considered and heard on this issue including people with diabetes, carers, clinicians, specialists and researchers, basic and clinical.
Diabetes is still associated with a major burden of complications, limiting the quality of life and posing an economic challenge to society. Specific aims and timelines will be established to reduce these adverse outcomes. Patients play a crucial role not only in implementing treatments and improving outcomes but also in contributing to prevention strategies.
To deliver on its ambition to advance diabetes research and care, the European Diabetes Forum is working to coordinate and encourage the energy and ambition of many key stakeholders who are already active in this field. Many agencies work to some degree in isolation, or with focus on one aspect of diabetes without the opportunity to contribute to the unified and overall agenda and the full landscape of this complex disease.
The Forum will make it possible for all these contributors to collaborate advance the agenda for both research and the systems of healthcare. Many of the leading stakeholders are already in dialogue with EASD. A plenary launch of the full European Diabetes Forum will take place on September 30th, 2018, prior to the EASD’s Annual Scientific Meeting in Berlin. The EASD welcomes input to this new strategic initiative and will be visiting many of these stakeholders and organisations to communicate about the Forum during the second half of 2018.
Without a coordinated stewardship of the European diabetes agenda for research and care, the ongoing toll of unwanted health complications and costs threaten the quality of life and welfare of an increasing proportion of the population.
(1) IDF Diabetes Atlas, 2017 – www.diabetesatlas.org
John J. Nolan
Stefano Del Prato
Juleen R. Zierath
European Association for the Study of Diabetes e.V
Tel: +49 211 758 469 0