Type 2 Diabetes: A preventable catastrophe?
Event report (June 6, 2023)
On June 6, 2023, IDF Europe held a hybrid event in media partnership with EURACTIV,
to officially present his new publication "Type 2 Diabetes: A Disaster That Can
prevent?" During the event, panelists representing academia,
health care workers, people living with type 2 diabetes (T2D), representatives of
industry and policymakers, discussed why we urgently need to rebuild
our health systems in Europe and remove barriers that hinder early and
rigorous treatment of type 2 diabetes and related risk factors
Professor Nebojsa Lalik, Regional Chair of IDF Europe, opened the event by highlighting the burden of diabetes on people living with the disease and the healthcare system in Europe.
Despite recent advances in understanding and treating diabetes, the number of Europeans living with the condition continues to grow. There are 61 million people living with diabetes in Europe today, and this figure is expected to reach 67 million by 2030, with approximately 90% of diabetes cases occurring in T2D. More than half of them will die prematurely due to preventable diabetes complications. In 2021, the cost of diabetes care was €176 billion, 75% of which is related to the health costs of treating complications.
One of the key topics addressed during the panel discussion was the importance of having people with disabilities at the centre of their care and empowering them to optimally manage their condition. Healthcare professionals should actively listen to the needs and perspectives of people with disabilities and take into account their unique circumstances, including their socioeconomic conditions and living/working environment.

Describing his personal experience, Eric Verson shared:
Initially, I was treated as a patient and not as a person. HCPs should look at who you are, what your life looks like and what you can do to incorporate diabetes into that life. This has been improving.
During the panel discussion, our guest speakers shared their views on the urgent need to rebuild our health systems and introduce new models of care to address the unacceptably high number of complications and premature mortality of people with diabetes.
"If the science is there, why is diabetes causing so much death and why is this not being addressed enough?"
Our healthcare systems are more equipped to manage acute care rather than chronic conditions. Early action should be considered an investment rather than a cost. […] We need to start realising that the current set up of healthcare systems will not bring back results if we don't change it. We need to move from reactive to proactive care
Maurizio Guidi, Chair of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) Diabetes Platform
Strengthening primary care, where most type 2 diabetes services are provided, and integrating all levels of care is critical to providing comprehensive and coordinated care from prevention to timely intervention and treatment of complications and reducing the severity of the disease.
In 2021, diabetes-related health expenditures in Europe amounted to €176 billion. In response to a moderator's question about whether additional investment will be needed to reverse the trend of type 2 diabetes, our panelists highlighted the importance of focusing on reallocating current budgets to support cost-effective interventions that can prevent the development of cost-effective diabetes-related complications.
T2D is responsible for more than one million premature deaths in Europe each year. This is the equivalent of three jumbo jets crashing every single day - a tragedy we would never accept. We simply cannot accept the same number of people dying prematurely because of potentially preventable diabetes-related complications.

We can do something about that. And we must.
More information about the event can be found in the report on the IDF website