Lung diseases cost EU economy €100bn — ERS calls for urgent action

2 October 2011

It is well known that respiratory diseases are a leading cause of death and suffering in the EU and other countries. However the total challenge to the EU countries goes far beyond public health: lung diseases currently cause an annual cost to its members' economies of €100 billion and threaten the Europe 2020 strategy and goal to have 75% of the working population employed and productive.

Leading worldwide experts of the European Respiratory Society (ERS), alarmed by the situation, have taken a proactive stance and completed an 18-month reflection process and the result — the European Respiratory Roadmap — was presented to the European Council, Commission and Parliament. The Roadmap outlines key recommendations and respiratory health priorities for the next decade.

The ERS is urging the EU to stand by the promises already made by its health ministers last December and to urgently take appropriate measures such as:

  • the adoption of a specific EU Action Plan on chronic diseases including respiratory diseases;
  • a significant increased investment in biomedical research and innovation;
  • accelerated implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control;
  • strong actions on indoor and outdoor air pollution and climate change;
  • improving the accessibility to care for those with chronic respiratory diseases.

Professor Marc Decramer, President of the ERS said: “The current annual cost of €100 billion euros caused by lung disease is not sustainable. We call on the Polish Presidency to ensure effective implementation of the Council conclusions on chronic disease. These actions together with the Roadmap have the potential to radically improve the health of future generations and save billions for Europe’s economy.”

More information

The European Respiratory Roadmap is available at:


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