EU healthcare is under extreme financial pressure and important choices regarding the diseases on which we focus and the resources we allocate to their management need to be made, according to MEP Cristian Busoi. The Romanian liberal MEP has set up a new task force in the European Parliament this week to address the issue.
Busoi has been an MEP since 2007 and sits on the committee for internal market and consumer protection. From 2004 to 2007 he was a Romanian MP. He is a fully qualified doctor and lawyer. He responded to questions from EURACTIV’s Jeremy Fleming.
Why are you launching a new task force?
Because atrial fibrilation (Afib) is one of the most common cardiac arrhythmia which affects more than 6 million Europeans and which significantly increases the risk of stroke. This altogether puts an important financial burden on our healthcare systems, especially in the current austerity context. Our aim is therefore to find together new and better solutions to raise awareness and to improve the efficiency of the treatment for this disease. The reason why we have chosen to do this through a new task force is that bringing together expertise from various circles increases the chances to get to an optimal outcome in terms of Afib therapy.
Why is arrhythmia important?
Essentially because it can lead to more serious cardiovascular conditions, namely stroke, which changes radically patients' lives for those who manage to survive. The treatment of such cardiovascular conditions also implies a heavy financial burden on healthcare budgets and also has a high cost in terms of quality of life of European patients. If something can be done to early diagnose and treat Afib in a more efficient manner, we have the responsibility to do so in order to safeguard the wellbeing of Europeans and the financial sustainability of our healthcare systems.
What is the impact on healthy and active ageing?
Atrial fibrilation is a condition that mostly affects the elderly. Doing something to prevent and better treat atrial fibrilation means doing something for the health of older people. Because by lowering the risk of stroke or other cardiovascular conditions, we increase the healthy lifespan of these people, which is exactly the objective of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing.
Who are you hoping to bring together with the task force?
We are aiming to involve as many people as possible in order to find the best solutions through a joint effort. At this stage we will bring together experts in the medical field, be they doctors or researchers, patient organisations as well as policymakers who are expected to put this higher on the political agenda of the EU and national institutions.
What exactly can and will the task force achieve?
The task force will think of the best ways to raise awareness about what atrial fibrilation is and its burden on the population of the EU. We will therefore communicate on this and also on the importance of early diagnosis with medical professional bodies, patient organisations in the member states and national authorities. I would like to emphasise the importance of early diagnosis, since Afib can be detected by simply taking the pulse of any patient. Detecting it at an early stage can save considerable amounts of money for our healthcare systems later on. The task force will also serve as a platform to exchange our views and best practices with a view to finding a common approach regarding the most efficient therapies for atrial fibrilation and for improving the quality of life for Afib patients.