EDMA calls for empowering people with diabetes

Type 2 diabetes and its complications are frequently diagnosed too late and the complications are often detected only at the time of diagnosis, concludes the European Parliament in its 2006 Written Declaration on Diabetes.

In addition, some 60 million people in Europe are recognised as being at risk of developing pre-diabetes. EDMA, the European Diagnostic Manufacturers Association calls for an appropriate and rational use of In Vitro Diagnostics for diabetes detection, monitoring and management to improve the quality of life of the patients and their carers and ensure significant cost savings.

In 2003, diabetes affected an estimated 27 million people in the 27 Member States of the European Union (over 7.6 % of the population), and was also a major cause of death. Recent projections predict that by 2025, 8.9 % of the population (31.5 million people) will suffer from diabetes in the European Union.

Diabetes-related complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, lower limb amputations and blindness are the reason for significantly reduced life expectancy and quality of life for people with diabetes.

About half of the cost of diabetes care goes towards managing complications and late complications can lead to a 12-fold increase in the cost of treatment. With the rise of type 2 diabetes in children the risk of complications at an early age is increasing. It is estimated that by 2025, 7-13% of worldwide healthcare budgets will have to be spent on diabetes care. In view of this, early detection and intervention is key.

Today only about 4% of money spent on diabetes is related to early detection and monitoring as compared to the more than 60% spent on the treatment of complications and 36% on drugs. The EU points out that preventive measures, early detection and diagnosis and effective management of the disease can result in reduced mortality, increased life expectancy and quality of life.

Diabetes self-management is among the most difficult of all chronic illness self-management regimes. People with diabetes often have difficulties meeting the demands of their illness and experience poorer outcomes as result. Patient outcome studies show that people who keep their glucose levels under control have a better quality of life and show increased compliance regarding most other aspects of managing their condition.

Diagnostics for the detection, monitoring and management of diabetes therefore play a vital role in achieving cost control and disease containment. Blood glucose monitoring gives both short-term (2 years) and long-term (5 to 10 years) economic benefits. EDMA supports action to further the development of convenient testing and monitoring systems as a prerequisite to achieving internationally agreed goals for the prevention, treatment and care of diabetes.

EDMA also stresses the importance of involving industry even more actively in the field of education of patients and health care professionals. "Experience shows that easy-to-use self-testing devices offer a significant improvement in patient outcomes. With investments of 10 percent of their annual turnover the industry is committed to work on covering unmet needs and to providing information to people with diabetes and doctors alike” affirms Werner Majunke, chairman of the EDMA Task Force on Value of IVDs.

The United Nations General Assembly recognises diabetes as a chronic, debilitating and costly disease associated with major complications that pose severe risks for families, member states and the entire world. UN Resolution 61/2255 has designated the current IDF World Diabetes Day, 14 November, as a United Nations Day to be observed every year starting in 2007.

Diabetes lowers life expectancy by up to 18 years. In 2007 alone it is expected to cause 3.8 million deaths worldwide; about the same as HIV/AIDS. Now, for the first time, governments have acknowledged that a non-infectious disease poses as serious a threat to world health as infectious diseases.

About EDMA

EDMA, the European Diagnostic Manufacturers Association represents National Associations and major companies engaged in the research, development, manufacture or distribution of In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) medical devices in Europe. Through its affiliated National Associations, EDMA represents in total more than 500 companies (or over 700 legal entities) across Europe. The mission of EDMA is to raise awareness of the importance, usefulness and added-value that diagnostic information can provide to healthcare. For this purpose, EDMA cooperates with European institutions, patients groups, trade associations, health professionals and academia to support an appropriate regulatory system, to work towards a realistic economic environment for healthcare in Europe and to be an effective voice in globalisation.

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