Major Breakthrough in European Pain Policy Activities

Aug 7, 2017

The European Pain Federation—EFIC, the federation of 37 European IASP chapters, runs an advocacy campaign called the Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) platform. The campaign brings together doctors, patients (through the Pain Alliance Europe), and industry partners (Grünenthal) and aims to improve health policies and systems in Europe by highlighting the impact of pain for society, economies, employment, and individual patients.

The SIP platform organized a June symposium in Malta in early June in conjunction with the government of Malta that brought together an estimated 300 key opinion leaders, experts, academics, patient advocates, politicians, and civil servants. The group convened with a goal of agreeing to a series of policy recommendations to be sent to the national governments of the European Union as well as the European Commission.

A highlight of the symposium was the appearance by video link of Dr. Robert Jakob, medical officer for the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) at the World Health Organization. Dr. Jakob discussed the upcoming revision of the ICD, which for the first time is expected to include chronic pain as a disease in its own right. Participants discussed the likely positive consequences of this change for health provision by governments in Europe.

The main breakthrough for the campaign this year was the announcement at the symposium that an “expert group” on the social impact of pain would be created as a consultative body for the European Union’s policymaking efforts. The announcement was made by Martin Seychell, deputy director general for health and food safety at the European Commission.

Bart Morlion, president-elect of the European Pain Federation, commented “SIP 2017 was a real breakthrough for us, and we expect to see further collaboration at the highest level with politicians in Europe over the coming years.”