The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) launched the “MEP Friends of the Liver Group” in a seminar hosted by MEP Cristian Buşoi (EPP, RO) and co-organised by EASL and European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) in the European Parliament.
The crucial key message of the launching event was:
Liver diseases are extremely costly both concerning economic costs as well as concerning social costs, such as human suffering.
The problem of liver disease in Europe is compounded by the lack of awareness among a large part of the European population. Scientific evidence demonstrates the growing burden of liver disease in the European Union. Although these diseases affect everyone, poor and young people are especially vulnerable and the number of children suffering from liver disease is increasing. In 2013, 29 million people in the EU were documented as suffering from a chronic liver condition; liver cirrhosis accounted for around 170,000 deaths whilst liver cancer accounted for around 47,000 deaths.
Another key message conveyed by the event was the reiteration of the calls on the European Commission to issue a new and better EU Alcohol Strategy. It was acknowledged that the old Strategy (2006 – 2012) had been successful in coordinating EU member states’ activities across different areas – raising awareness of alcohol harm, improving road safety, and improving the evidence base. However, the Strategy was not successful in reducing alcohol-related harm.
Consequently a third key message voiced by the organisers was the immediate need for more prevention of liver diseases in order to decrease societal costs, with particular emphasis on tackling alcohol- and obesity-related liver conditions with evidence-based policy measures.
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For further reading about the event: EASL on the launching event