Nearly 14 million people in the European Union today suffer from fibromyalgia syndrome. Initially classified as a rheumatic disease by the World Health Organisation, since January 2006 fibromyalgia has been recognised as a musculoskeletal and connective tissue disease in its own right (M 79.7).
In 2008, the European Parliament called for the development of a European strategy on fibromyalgia in order to promote research under the seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development, and to encourage the Member States to improve access to diagnosis and treatment. In its answer of October 2009, the Commission referred to the Community action programme in the field of public health (2003‑08), which set a ‘priority for work on the provision of information and the definition of indicators of neurodegenerative diseases, neurodevelopmental disorders and non-psychiatric brain diseases […] with specific reference to fibromyalgia’.
Despite advances in medical research, no marketing authorisation has yet been obtained in Europe for a drug designed to treat fibromyalgia, no final decision has been taken on the classification of the disease in order to put an end to the ongoing scientific controversy amongst practitioners, and no arrangements regarding cover by health-insurance funds have yet been proposed to sufferers.
What specific short-term measures does the Commission therefore intend to take to improve the daily lives of sufferers and to ensure that, in addition to formal recognition of fibromyalgia as a disease, effective, scientifically validated and consensus-based measures are taken to deal with the condition in the Member States?