01 January 2012

Following the success of the 1st EFA COPD Workshop focussing on prevention and diagnosis held in June, a 2nd Workshop was held on November 9th in the European Parliament in Brussels. This time the focus was on COPD care and research needs. The event gathered COPD patients, MEPs, representatives from the European Commission and the Polish EU Presidency, as well as partnering health NGOs. It was co-hosted by MEPs Sean Kelly and Karin Kadenbach. The workshop first heard from patient and employer representatives who explained how living actively and working with COPD is possible, but depends on adequate access to therapy and health systems which support patients' (and therefore also employers') real needs. The high cost of caring for patients who experience exacerbations was highlighted, and the importance of developing individualised patient strategies to reduce exacerbation rates was therefore stressed. A Finnish health representative then described how Finland has pioneered best practice in the field, and has succeeded in lowering COPD costs and improving care through a series of awareness raising measures and better allocation of resources. More research on COPD issues was called for, particularly regarding the causes of exacerbations in patients and the under-explored link between COPD and depression and its resultant effects on patients.

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