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Irish Osteoporosis Society

Cork Workshop supports call for Europe to prioritize the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis
-Irish Osteoporosis Society opens support group in Cork

Pictured at the Osteoporosis Workshop in Cork in April, from left: Andrew Whitty, President, Pharmaceuticals Europe, GlaxoSmithKline; Prof Moira O'Brien, President, IOS; Micheal Martin, TD, Minister of Health and Children; Mary Anderson, Board Member, IOF; John O'Toole, Health Counsellor, Irish Permanent Representation to the EU.

Speaking at a workshop held in Cork on April 5, 2004, Mr Micheál Martin TD, Irish Minister for Health said “The Irish government is committed to working to try and find healthcare solutions for diseases such as osteoporosis and will work together with the European Parliament and other Member States, to encourage future European Health Presidencies to bring forward this work”.

The workshop, “Delivering patient expectations and managing European health priorities:the case of osteoporosis”, brought together patients, medical experts, policy-makers and pharmaceutical industry representatives from Europe to discuss how governments should co-ordinate the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis.

The workshop explored issues such as:
* Achieving a better understanding of the needs of European Osteoporosis patients
* Understanding how medicine and innovation can meet the needs of patients using the case of osteoporosis
* Determining the conditions which would ensure that patients take on more responsibility for their healthcare choices
* Determining the ways governments define health priorities which will meet the needs of patients, in a society with a growing ageing population
* Addressing these issues in the context of the crisis in Social Security and consequent pressures on health spending

The event was hosted by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) and IOF-member the Irish Osteoporosis Society (IOS), and supported by an unrestricted educational grant from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

“Osteoporosis is one of the most serious, debilitating and costly diseases in Europe yet it is also one of the least recognised," said Mary Anderson, IOF board member. "Today one person in the EU suffers an osteoporosis fracture every 30 seconds. Action is needed now to make osteoporosis and related fractures a European healthcare priority. "

Recognizing the need to provide support for people with osteoporosis in the Cork region, the IOS announced the launch of a patient support group for the area. The first meeting of the group will be held in early May with over eighty people committed to participate. “We’re delighted to be able to increase the awareness of osteoporosis and to give advice on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of osteoporosis to help patients and their families within the Cork area”, said Professor Moira O’Brien, IOS President.

From left: Brian Gavin, Commercial Director, GSK Ireland; Mary Anderson, Board Member, IOF; Mel Read MEP, Chair of the European Parliament Osteoporosis Interest Group; Prof Moira O'Brien, President Irish Osteoporosis Society

Member of European Parliament Mel Read (UK) and Chair of the European Parliament Osteoporosis Interest Group was presented with the first IOF President’s Award in recognition of her ongoing support to improve political awareness and policies for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and related fractures. Mrs Read will retire from the European Parliament this June after 15 years of service. Speaking at the workshop, Mrs Read noted “Far too many Europeans at high risk of osteoporosis will suffer needlessly because they did not have timely diagnosis or preventive therapies."

Andrew Witty, GSK’s European President ended the workshop, stating that “GSK is delighted to have the opportunity today to meet stakeholders to discuss common concerns. Osteoporosis is a good example of how patients, Governments and the research based pharmaceutical industry can deliver effective and holistic healthcare policies. We will continue to work in partnership with payers and patients to ensure that all patients get early access to innovative medicines.”


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