International Society for Fracture Repair

Osteoporotic Fracture Campaign

About the OFC

The need for a stronger surgical dimension

There are many organisations already campaigning on osteoporosis. The International Osteoporosis Foundation, now linked with the US-based National Osteoporosis Foundation, and the many national osteoporosis societies around the world are all engaged in vigorous campaigns to persuade national governments and healthcare commissioners to put more and more resources into the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and the prevention of low-trauma fractures. Historically, however, these organisations have mainly been driven by physicians in metabolic bone disease, rheumatology or geriatric medicine, with relatively little input from trauma and orthopaedics, and supported by the pharmaceutical industry rather than the devices industry who supply the means to treat fractures.

This results in an imbalance for the burning public health problem of low trauma fractures. Healthcare commissioners are hearing the message about prevention, but not about treatment. Imagine the outcry if this were the case for cancer, or cardiovascular disease! As health workers, our ultimate concern is to maximise the quality of life for our people. This means delivering optimum treatment and rehabilitation to patients who sustain low trauma fractures, as well as endeavouring to prevent as many as possible from happening in the first place. There must be no false and unhelpful contradiction between prevention and treatment; the two must be pursued together. The great danger is that politicians, who always tend to think that prevention will be cheaper, will believe they do not need to do any more than put a few extra resources into prevention.

The ISFR’s Osteoporotic Fracture Campaign therefore has two equally important goals:

  • To improve treatment of low trauma fractures
  • To ensure reliable and effective secondary prevention

Our pursuit of these goals is partly political, partly scientific.

The Political Campaign

Our strategy is to work through existing organisations that are exerting influence on healthcare commissioners, adding fracture issues to osteoporosis issues. In the IOF, we do this at EU level; nationally we work through orthopaedic associations and osteoporosis societies. In response to the ISFR-OFC, the IOF has created a Fractures Working Group, through which the two organisations plan the education and mobilisation of orthopaedic surgeons on this issue. We see the OFC as a component of the Bone and Joint Decade and endeavour to strengthen the latter through our activities.

Examples of political objective are:

  • To raise the priority of osteoporosis and low trauma fractures in national health service planning objectives.
  • To secure funding for fracture liaison services to integrate trauma care with secondary prevention services.
  • To secure funding for national databases and audits of fragility fracture care, starting with hip fractures.
  • To encourage the development and implementation of standards of care for fragility fractures.

The heart of the campaign is the OFC Network, a database of interested and enthusiastic people and organisations. The HQ for the political campaign is in London and led by Professor David Marsh.

The Scientific Campaign

The ISFR has a long track record of organising fruitful workshops and symposia, where surgeons, scientists and industrial partners interact. A workshop is a small group of invited participants convened to brainstorm a particular topic and generate new ideas that can be followed up by participants subsequently. An example is the workshop on osteoporotic fractures of the distal forearm, a report of which is available on this website. A symposium is a larger meeting where invited speakers present the state of the art to an audience. One example is the symposium on osteoporotic fractures convened in Bologna in 2002 which was the initiating event for the OFC. The HQ for the scientific campaign is at the Rizzoli Institute in Bologna and is led by Professor Antonio Moroni.

Examples of scientific objectives are:

  • To communicate with company delegates and researchers of different backgrounds to explore both national and international research opportunities in the evolving field of osteoporotic bone fixation
  • To organize and foster worldwide research by collaborating with the key players such as researchers, orthopaedic surgeons, companies, non-profit organizations and government enterprises in order to establish a network within which to carry out research projects
  • To direct the industry towards appropriate medical centres in which their products can be tested in multi-centric studies conducted under the supervision of the OFC

The Osteoporotic Fracture Campaign is generously sponsored by DePuy, Kyphon,Orthofix, Roche, Smith & Nephew, Striker Biotech, Synthes and Wyeth.

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