Cardiovascular diseases cause over 1.8 million deaths a year across the EU. Pavel Poc wants to help change that

MEPs Pavel Poc and Karin Kadenbach are set to host a discussion on what can be done to reduce Europe’s CVD burden.

Next month on 10 October, MEPs Pavel Poc and Karin Kadenbach will host a discussion in the European Parliament on reducing Europe’s CVD burden | Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

In the run up to the event, organised in association with the Parliament Magazine and with the support of Amgen, we spoke to Poc about why he’s involved.

The Parliament Magazine: What do you hope will emerge, in concrete terms, from the upcoming CVD event you are chairing? Can such an event bring real added value to the issue in question?

Pavel Poc: I hope so. I do believe that raising awareness and building bridges between various stakeholders is worthy and can change things. I try to put people together to get things moving. From my personal experience, this sort of a conference is usually at the beginning of the chain of events of many issues that I have been working on.

PM: What are the main challenges in tackling the burden of CVD in the EU?

PP: Each year, CVDs cause over 1.8 million deaths in the EU - almost 40 per cent of all deaths in the EU. CVD imposes a huge economic burden on the European economy, despite being preventable. The total cost of stroke in the EU, including both healthcare and non-healthcare costs, was approximately €45bn in 2015 and is set to rise. The non-healthcare costs for informal care alone were estimated at €15.9bn, that’s 35 per cent of the total cost of stroke in the EU in 2015.


PM: Who are the ‘high-risk’ patients and what are their unmet medical need?

PP: High risk patients are people who have experienced previous cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction (MI, or more commonly known as a heart attack) or a stroke. They are at very high risk of having a recurrent event and are several more likely to die as a result of this. This highlights the need to improve strategies for detection and care of patients at high risk of further cardiovascular events.

PM: Given that health remains largely a member state competence does the EU have a key role here?

PP: Of course health is a member state responsibility. But it does not mean that EU should wash its hands and forget about it. The EU can help member states to share experiences, promote the improvement of strategies for the detection of “high-risk” patients, publish best practices, set quality standards, coordinate if needed, fund what is needed, help the Member states not to invent the wheel again and again. Is it a “key role”? I do not know. Is it worthy and helpful? Yes for sure.

PM: How can policymakers and stakeholders work together and help close the gaps in European cardiovascular care?

"CVD imposes a huge economic burden on the European economy, despite being preventable"

PP: There is no difference between policymakers and stakeholders. Politicians are stakeholders and stakeholders take their part in policy making. It counts in healthcare more than in other areas. During the event “Putting the Heart First: Closing the Gaps in European Cardiovascular Care", which I will host with my colleague Karin Kadenbach, MEPs, clinicians, patients and healthcare advocates will discuss how to find concrete solutions to address the challenge of improving strategies for better detection and care of high risk patients. What a better example of working together do you need?

Click on the link to register to attend and join Pavel Poc and Karin Kadenbach in  “Putting the Heart First: Closing the Gaps in European Cardiovascular Care"

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