The MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind and Pain was officially launched in Brussels on Tuesday, February 24th.
Officially launching the group, MEP Marian Harkin stressed the impact and prevalence of neurological and chronic pain disorders.
1 in 3 Europeans are affected by a brain disorder and 1 in 5 by chronic pain. This is rising due to the ageing population.
The annual cost of brain disorders in Europe is EUR 800 billion – this is 6% of GDP. The cost of chronic pain could add a further 3% of GDP.
‘Public awareness, research and funding for these disease areas is not equivalent to the burden and impact,” said MEP Harkin, ‘In fact, public research funding for brain disorders equated to only 0.2% of the cost, with the industry investing just a further 0.8%.’
She commended the publication of the Book of Evidence: a document which outlines the challenges faced in this field from a multi-stakeholder perspective. It also includes case-studies of good practice and possible solutions which will be explored and advanced as the group is rolled-out.
Subsequent meetings will be based around four themes: stigma, quality of life, research and patient involvement.
The next meeting will focus on health promotion and prevention. It will take place on June 24th and will be hosted by MEP Daciana Sarbu.
Speaking at the event, she said, “I am especially convinced of the need for preventive measures and information campaigns for the general public. Some of these disorders can be prevented with the right lifestyle choices.”
She continued, “I believe that health care policies which give due consideration to prevention are the I look forward to working with you all so we can tackle neurological conditions and deliver better health outcomes for European citizens most effective for patients, and the most cost-effective for national healthcare systems.”
Following this, there will be an interactive meeting on stigma/social inclusion on October 14th. And, in early 2016, MEP Jeroen Lenaers will host a meeting looking at employment issues for those affected by neurological and chronic pain disorders. He stressed the need to look at how we can link health and social policy.
A full report of the meeting will be available in the coming days, so please check back soon. The Interest Group website is currently in development and will soon be available at: www.brainmindpain.eu