Hepatitis C is a major public health problem in Europe with significant morbidity and mortality rates. In the EU more people die each year from HCV than from HIV. An estimated 15 million Europeans are chronically infected, including 5.5 million living in the EU. Even with Europe’s generally good tracking of epidemics, HCV continues to spread undetected as a “silent pandemic” as patients often have no symptoms during the first 20-30 years. In addition to the suffering of patients, the economic burden of the disease is significant due to healthcare costs and indirect loss of productivity In Europe is considerable.
The First EU HCV Policy Summit held in Brussels on 17th February 2016 entitled “Hepatitis C: The beginning of the end - key elements for successful European and national strategies to eliminate HCV in Europe” was a historic event and represents an important milestone, as it was the first ever high-level conference organized on the topic of hepatitis C elimination on a European level. One-hundred and forty European stakeholders and policy-makers, including clinicians, patient advocacy groups, representatives of key institutions and regional bodies from across Europe gathered together to present the case for a European Elimination Strategy for hepatitis C. The Summit was addressed by Dr Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner, Dr John F Ryan, Director of DG Santé and MEPs including Cristian Silviu Buşoi, Chair of MEP Interest Group Friends of the Liver.
At this Summit many examples of good practice were presented which if replicated on a larger scale could lead to successfully eliminating HCV by 2030. The event concluded with the launch of the Elimination Manifesto with its 7 calls providing a roadmap for action.
This second EU HCV Policy Summit on “Securing sustainable funding for hepatitis elimination plans” will follow the format of the First EU HCV Policy Summit and will provide an exceptional opportunity to meet and connect with Europe’s leading policymakers and experts on HCV. It will bring together over 100 members of National and European Parliaments, high-level government officials, experts and opinion leaders from across Europe in a unique multi-stakeholder set-up with the aim to discuss proposals and solutions to secure sustainable funding for hepatitis elimination plans.
The major topics of the Summit are:
- The cost of HCV Elimination in the EU 28.
- The cost of patient reported outcomes and productivity loss due to HCV in EU 28.
- Innovative Financing of HCV Elimination.
- HCV Elimination and European Financing Institutions.
- Call to Action : Declaration for sustainable funding of HCV elimination in Europe
The cost of HCV elimination includes surveillance, monitoring and evaluation of National Action Plans, awareness and communication campaigns, prevention programmes such as blood and injection safety, prevention of transmission in PWIDs and testing and treatment programmes. The financing and sustainability of hepatitis elimination plans represents the Strategic Direction 4 of the WHO Strategy for Viral Hepatitis Elimination. Strategic Direction 4 is a major challenge for European economies. However, the savings related to preventing and treating HCV may exceed the cost of HCV elimination. The resources spent on HCV provide good value for money given that high initial annual spending will give away to a decrease in cost in a medium term.
We look forward to welcoming you to the Summit on 6th June for what promises to be a very fruitful event and seize the opportunity to align on calls to action to make sure that HCV Elimination becomes a reality.
Angelos Hatzakis, MD, PhD
Co-Chair, Hepatitis B & C Public Policy Association
Professor of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Athens University Medical School
Find here the full programme
HCV Summit 2018 - Programme
Find here the Maser Slide deck of the Summit
HCV Summit 2018 - Master Slide Deck
2nd EU HCV Policy Summit Article
Securing sustainable funding for viral hepatitis elimination plans