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    30% of the European population lives with allergies, asthma and COPD

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    Because breathing is taken for granted, we work for better recognition of chronic respiratory diseases

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EFA, the European Chronic Diseases Alliance (ECDA) and other public health organisations have sent an open letter to the European Commission urging them to act on chronic diseases.

Chronic diseases impose a significant cost to our societies (human suffering, reduced workforce, social exclusion, health inequalities, etc) and a tremendous financial burden on healthcare systems. Seventy to eighty per cent of health-care costs are spent on chronic diseases. This corresponds to €700 billion per year only in the European Union and the figures are expected to rise in the coming years.

Chronic diseases deserve much more engagement and political dedication. Asthma and allergy are the most common chronic diseases among children, with a prevalence of over 20% while COPD is supposed to become the third leading cause of death by 2030 worldwide.

The past five years have shown that holding conferences and carrying out reflection processes are not efficient in the absence of concrete follow-up measures by EU policy makers. They have also shown that there is a broad stakeholder agreement on what needs to be done, both among Member States and civil society. The renewed EU Health Policy Platform may be useful in addressing chronic diseases, but does not represent the needed concrete and immediate answer to the urgent issue at hand.

We need a common comprehensive strategy to tackle this issue and improve health and quality of life of patients in Europe.EFA has been advocating for the adoption of a chronic disease strategy for many years now (see our 2014-2019 Manifesto), and we will keep you posted of future developments in this area.