Europe paying a significant cost for diseases that are chronic, finds new OECD-EC report

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Europe paying a significant cost for diseases that are chronic, finds new OECD-EC report


23/11/2016 – Better prevention policies and public health in addition to more powerful health care could save thousands and tens of thousands of lives and billions of euros every year in Europe, based on a combined OECD/European Commission report that is new.

Aside from the loss of lives as well as the human catastrophe that this always entails, Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 approximations the early deaths of 550,000 working‑age individuals across European Union states from chronic diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancer, cost EU markets EUR 115 billion or 0.8% of GDP per annum. This amount doesn’t contain the extra reduction in productivity of individuals living with long-term health conditions and terms of lower employment rates. 

While earlier diagnosis and better treatments have greatly raised the share of individuals living these disorders, many states ─ including the Uk, Ireland and particularly some Central and Eastern European states ─ lag behind in relation to cancer survival rates. 

The load of ill health on societal benefit costs is enormous, with 1.7% of GDP spent on incapacity and paid sick leave each year on average in EU states, more than what’s spent on unemployment benefits. Yet EU member states allocate just around 3% on average of their health budgets to prevention and public health.

Additional investment in prevention, along with measures making it simpler to work for those who have disabilities, would bring major societal and economic gains in EU states, says the report. It’d likewise help states reach the goals that are challenging in Sustainable Development Aim 3: Good Health and Well Being.

Many more lives might be saved if standards of care are increased to the top degree across EU states,” said OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría, found the report in Brussels with European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis. “More needs to be carried out to reduce inequalities in access along with caliber of care, and European health systems must become more efficient in channelling resources where they got the most impact on health outcomes, including on prevention.” (read the total address)


Commissioner Andriukaitis included: “The Health at a Glance report provides valuable tips for Member States to shape their activities on health across all policies. It demonstrates that in the EU many people perish every year from possibly avoidable ailments linked to risk factors including obesity or smoking. Additionally, it emphasizes the necessity to carry on our efforts in ensuring that health care becomes more reachable. The report symbolizes the main of the partnership between the OECD along with the Commission to develop state-specific and cross country knowledge on health and health systems, as step one of the ‘State of Health in the EU’.”

The report notes that extensive disparities compound the substantial differences in life expectancy across states within states – between the most and least knowledgeable, between most affluent and the lowest. On average across EU states, the life expectancy of individuals with the bottom degree of schooling is shorter than for the knowledgeable. The difference is very big in Eastern and Central European states, notably for guys, due to greater prevalence of risk factors.

The variety of low earners reporting limited accessibility to health care for fiscal reasons also improved subsequent to the international monetary catastrophe in several EU states. In Greece, the share of poor individuals reporting unmet medical care needs expected to cost has doubled since increasing from 7% in 2008 to over 16% in 2014, 2008.

Powerful primary care systems can play a significant function in handling the changing needs of an ageing European population and in reducing health inequalities. Ensuring that primary care providers are reachable wherever people live, be it in distant and rural regions or in poor city neighbourhoods, is vital to lessen the variety of avoidable hospitalisations along with health inequalities across EU states.  


Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 demonstrates slow increase in health spending in many EU states in 2015, together accounting for 9.9% of EU GDP. Germany, Sweden and France each spent around 11% of GDP on healthcare, closely followed by the Netherlands and Denmark (at 10.8% and 10.6%, respectively). States in the Eastern section of the EU have a tendency to spend less, with shares that range from 5% to 6% of GDP.

In all states, the health spending share of GDP is projected to grow in the forthcoming years due largely to population ageing as well as the diffusion of new diagnostic and remedial technologies.

Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 is part of the renewed cooperation between the EC along with the OECD to execute the Commission’s “State of Health in the EU” initiative. Extra information on this particular main report and state-specific notes for France, Germany, Italy, Spain as well as the United Kingdom are accessible at:

For questions about the content of the publication, journalists are invited to contact Francesca Colombo (tel. 33 1 45 24 93 60 or, Gaetan Lafortune (tel. 33 1 45 24 92 67 or or the OECD Media Division (tel. + 33 1 45 24 97 00 or

Working with over 100 nations, the OECD is a worldwide policy forum that encourages policies to boost the economical and societal well being of individuals all over the world.


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