The European Federation of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis Associations (EFCCA) have conducted a research project in order to map all innovative medicines and devices that are available for residents of all of its member countries. 31 countries (32 patient associations) from the EFCCA network participated in the project, which took place between October 2016 and December 2017.
As with many other digestive health conditions, healthcare systems and treatments for IBD vary across different European countries, particularly when concerning new and innovative treatments and devices. The aim for the EFCCA’s IBD mapping project was to research these inequalities in further detail within their member countries and, as a result, find a way to reduce them as well as to use the information to present discrepancies to European policy makers to further stress the importance of equal access to treatment.
The research found that the funding of healthcare in different countries varied between tax-funded coverage and privately funded coverage. Reimbursement policies for these varied a lot as well, where in some countries the patient pays nothing and in some, the patient must pay upfront and later claim their reimbursement. For patients with a low income, this may limit the availability of treatment and medication further.
It was also clear from this research that the access to new innovative therapies is very unequal between countries and regions in Europe. Another striking finding was that the majority of the countries had no official register of IBD patients and details of the medications that they were receiving.
Based on this research, the EFCCA have set the following recommendations to work on and develop together with other stakeholders:
- The access of new innovative therapies needs to be accelerated
- Further development of telemedicine and online service needs to be done in order to help access in rural areas and regions
- The development of IBD patient registries on national and European levels needs to be encouraged
The following countries took part in the research: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.
The European Federation of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis Associations (EFCCA) is an umbrella organisation which represents 34 national IBD patient associations. They aim to improve the quality of life for anyone living with IBD and to provide them with a louder voice and visibility across Europe and beyond.