From the News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton
PRESS RELEASE -28.01.2009
The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) are to have a consultation with a delegation from the European Network of Fibromyalgia Associations (ENFA) in an attempt to understand the need for medical treatments for fibromyalgia in Europe.
Brussels – Following an invitation by the EMEA, the European Network of Fibromyalgia Associations (ENFA) has agreed to attend a consultation meeting with EMEA, where ENFA representatives will share their knowledge and experiences related to the disease of Fibromyalgia that some 14 million Europeans are suffering from. One of the biggest challenges that the patients have been facing is the lack of officially recognized medical treatment options in the European Union whereas there are three drugs in the United States of America approved by the Food and Drug Administration: Cymbalta from Eli Lilly, Lyrica from Pfizer and recently authorised Savella from Forest & Cypress.
The European Declaration 69/2008 on Fibromyalgia that has been recently adopted by the European Parliament, symbolizing the awareness raised around Fibromyalgia, calls for actions on specific issues from European Institutions to improve healthcare surrounding the disease, e.g. investment in research and provision of better diagnosis and treatment. In addition, the European Health Commissioner Ms. Vassiliou’s remarks (E-6262/08EN) on the treatment of Fibromyalgia demonstrates encouraging willingness of the European Commission to address various concerns laid out in the Declaration on Fibromyalgia.
“We hope that this new drive on Fibromyalgia awareness will bring the end to the impasse of medical treatment for Fibromyalgia patients in the EU”, said Mr. Robert Boelhouwer, President of ENFA.
Fibromyalgia is a complex disease with a variety of symptoms in addition to the defining symptom – chronic widespread pain. It is estimated that 14 million people in Europe suffer from fibromyalgia and the condition is more prevalent with women (87%). Fibromyalgia imposes large economic burdens on society as well as on affected individuals. The debilitating symptoms often result in lost work days, lost income and disability payments. Due to lack of awareness, on average patients in Europe see 3-4 physicians and take multiple medications over the course of several years before they receive a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.
Mr. Boelhouwer said, “Increasing awareness of Fibromyalgia among healthcare professionals and patients will bring enormous benefits to patients, healthcare providers and the society in general by managing the burden of the disease.” he continues, “Having this in mind, ENFA welcomes the proactive role that both the European Parliament and the European Commission have taken up in raising the awareness of Fibromyalgia.”
Contact: European Network of Fibromyalgia Associations (ENFA)
Mr. Robert Boelhouwer President of ENFA
ENFA is a network of patient association and support groups working in close consultation with the national association in the relevant country. Our joint missions are to conquer the myths and misunderstandings around Fibromyalgia. The network will help collectively push forward the boundaries which currently exist in understanding, experiencing and treatment of Fibromyalgia. Our main goal is to see fibromyalgia receiving the recognition it deserves across Europe as an illness in its own right.