Europe has the largest burden of diagnosed liver disease globally with almost 30 million people in the European Union alone estimated to be living with a chronic liver condition. Liver cirrhosis accounts for 1.8% of all deaths reported in Europe (170,000 deaths annually) with a 100% increase in cirrhosis deaths observed across the Eastern European region from 1990 to 2017. Liver disease is now the second leading cause of years of working life lost in Europe, after ischaemic heart disease.

Tackling risk factors for CLDs, such as obesity, diabetes, and excessive alcohol consumption, is vital in reducing incidence and slowing the progression of liver diseases in Europe. Without policies to mitigate these risk factors, the burden of liver disease will continue to increase.

This major study, commissioned by EASL and supported by an unrestricted education grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Gilead, extends previous work on the burden of CLD in France, the Netherlands, and Romania by quantifying the future impact of a range of policy scenarios to reduce obesity and alcohol consumption and the subsequent burden of CLD in these countries. 

The key aims were:

  • To project the impact of an ‘inaction’ scenario where no change in policy is implemented up to 2030 on the future burden of liver disease (CLD and liver cancer) in France, the Netherlands, and Romania.
  • To contrast the impact of the inaction scenario with the impacts of different policy scenarios that tackle obesity or alcohol consumption, or both.

The incidence of CLD and liver cancer were modelled under three policy scenarios versus the inaction scenario. All policies had an important impact ranging from a 2% to 7% reduction in annual incidence of CLD and liver cancer by 2030. The most effective scenarios are an increased Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) of €1 on alcohol or introducing a set of complementary public health policies targeting an increased MUP, a sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) tax, and a volumetric tax that target both alcohol consumption and obesity.
The results demonstrate the importance of targeting multiple drivers of obesity and alcohol consumption simultaneously via harmonized fiscal and marketing policy frameworks.

View the full report

View the poster presented at the EASL Congress in Vienna (June 2023)

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