Leszek Czupryniak, MD, PhD; Joao Nabais, PhD


October 26, 2012

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Leszek Czupryniak, MD, PhD: Hello. My name is Leszek Czupryniak, and I am talking to you from Berlin at the 48th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). My guest today is a very special colleague from our partner association the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), Joao Nabais. He has just started his work as President of IDF Europe, and we are very happy to talk to him about the tasks ahead of him for IDF Europe, in the current economic situation in many European countries. Hello, Joao.

Joao Nabais, PhD: Hello.

Dr. Czupryniak: How do you see your role as President of IDF Europe? It is always a challenging task when you start a position like this. You will be subjected to a lot of media attention. You will be asked how people with diabetes should live during this time of crisis in Europe. What is your view? What are your plans for the following months?

Dr. Nabais: Thank you for inviting me to be with you today. These are quite challenging times due to the economic crisis, so our main role in the European region of IDF is to act at the political level because we are representing a wide European region that goes from Iceland to Russia. We have a huge focus on the European Union because it is the main political driver in Europe, so we wanted to achieve something that will make a difference for people living with diabetes. That is the European Union statute for diabetes, and it is needed when there is an economic crisis.

Being from Portugal, I know the crisis very well and all the cuts that are going on in medical services. We need to act very promptly at a political level to ensure that people living with diabetes have direct access to medicines, new treatments, and reimbursement for the medicines that they are using.

Dr. Czupryniak: Do you have good contacts with members of the European Parliament and the European Commission?

Dr. Nabais: Yes, we do. In the European Union Parliament, which is composed of 27 countries, we have a discussion group on diabetes that is organized by 4 members of the European Parliament from different countries and from different political parties to show that diabetes is not linked with a specific political party or country. This working group holds meetings in the European Parliament to raise awareness about diabetes. Obviously, we work very closely with the European Union Commission. People in Europe are not as aware, but roughly 60% of our national laws in Portugal, Poland, and elsewhere came from Brussels. When there is a European Union directive, it must be transposed to national law. A driver's license is one of the examples.

Dr. Czupryniak: You are in a unique position of influencing the fate of diabetes patients in all European countries, and you are successful. In March, the European Parliament passed a resolution on diabetes, which somehow followed the United Nations resolution but was much more detailed. We liked it so well that we are going to use it in our National Parliamentary Government to discuss diabetes issues.

You are here at the EASD meeting, which is quite different from the IDF. We are a professional organization oriented quite heavily on research and education. You are very warmly welcomed here. How do you see that we can collaborate in the next few years? In the past, IDF and the EASD were not that close. Our mutual feeling is that we should work much more closely, don't you think so?

Dr. Nabais: IDF Europe and EASD have different purposes but our main target is the people living with diabetes. We have to ensure that people living with diabetes have access to the newest technologies for diabetes. EASD is a scientific organization, and IDF is a mixed organization. We have a section for laypeople and also for medical societies, but our aim is the same. It is to help people living with diabetes, and we should cooperate much more to reach that target.

Dr. Czupryniak: We can offer a lot of expertise but we are less experienced in influencing politicians. You are much better at it.

Dr. Nabais: So we can complement each other.

Dr. Czupryniak: There is a good ground for collaboration.