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EUROPEAN COMMUNITY MEMBER STATES HAVE MADE LITTLE EFFORT TO REDUCE OSTEOPOROSIS SUFFERING AND COST

Audit report released today charts little progress since 1998

BRUSSELS, Belgium
December 4, 2001

Osteoporotic fractures in Europe have increased "at a staggering rate" since 1998, according to an audit report released today, yet government action has been "disappointing" and has not stopped significant suffering resulting from the disease.

The audit, Osteoporosis in the European Community: A Call to Action, will be released at a press conference at the European Parliament in Brussels, with the participation of European Commissioner David Byrne – responsible for health and consumer protection at the European Commission, Imelda Read (UK) – long-standing member of the European Parliament who is chair of the newly-formed European Parliament Osteoporosis Interest Group, and osteoporosis experts.

Prepared by IOF-International Osteoporosis Foundation and its member societies, the audit summarises the disappointing progress made at the European and national levels in combating and preventing osteoporotic fractures since 1998, when the European Commission produced the Report on Osteoporosis in the European Community.

Some highlights of the audit:

  • Since 1998, the number of osteoporotic hip fractures in the European Community has risen to more than 480,000 annually, an increase of over 25%.
     
  • The cost of osteoporosis, a widespread, severe, chronic and progressive disease in which bones become fragile and fracture easily, has increased some 33% since 1998, and now costs more than Euro 4.8 billion annually in European Community hospital health care alone.
     
  • Because of an ageing population, over the next five years the number of osteoporosis patients is expected to increase by two to five times.
     
  • While actions taken by health ministries in the Member States at the European Union have been generally disappointing, some countries report promising initiatives – development of guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis, education programmes, greater visibility for the disease on the health agenda.
     
  • The most urgent challenge is to get health care systems to pay for bone density scans and proven therapies for people with osteoporosis risk factors prior to the first fracture.
Osteoporosis in the European Community: A Call to Action

Note:
The Audit, Osteoporosis in the European Community: A Call to Action (PDF, 818 KB), can be read here on an embargoed basis until December 4, 16:00 GMT

Selected images from the report can be downloaded. Contact the website editor at lmisteli@osteofound.org if you require other images from the report.

For more information please contact: Paul Sochaczewski at psochaczewski@osteofound.org

INVITATION
Journalists are invited to the launch press conference in Brussels, which will take place on December 4, 2001, from 17h00 to 18h00 in the press room at the European Parliament. In addition to releasing the audit, the European Parliament Osteoporosis Interest Group will issue a Call to Action. Journalists are also invited to have their bone density tested. For an invitation to the press conference please contact Sinéad O'Laoire, Hill & Knowlton at solaoire@hillandknowlton.com tel: +32 2 737 9500

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