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Brussels / Belgium, 22 May, 2013.During the two SIP Focus Groups, which took place in Brussels on 14-15 May, the multi-stakeholder groups discussed and agreed upon two working documents for future policy actions: The SIP Recommendations paper on the “European Implementation of Quality Indicators in Chronic, Non-Malignant Pain Management” (Focus Group 1) and the SIP Proposal for Action, using “European Best Practices for the Reintegration of Chronic Pain Patients into the Workforce” (Focus Group 2). Both documents will set the basis for future actions of the multi-stakeholder group which aims to raise awareness of the impact of chronic pain, to exchange information and share best-practices across the European Union and to develop and foster policy strategies and activities to improve pain care in Europe.

As decided by EFIC® (European Federation of IASP® Chapters) and the SIP Programme Committee, the SIP Focus Groups took place for the first time this year, following three SIP symposia during 2010-2012. The Focus Groups took place as an associated event of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU (Jan - Jun 2013, and was endorsed by more than 185 international and national patient advocacy groups, scientific organisations, and health authorities, as well as the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

The topics of the SIP Focus Groups as selected by the SIP Programme Committee are closely related to one of the seven policy dimensions of the SIP Road Map for Action, as explains Professor Hans Georg Kress, President of EFIC®: “During the past three SIP symposia we have made progress for the general discussion and recognition of chronic pain as a challenge for the society. Now we are in the next phase: we are focusing on the distinct requests as given by the Road Map for Action”. The Road Map was a key result from SIP 2011 symposium outlining seven policy dimensions on how the EU institutions and member states can effectively address the societal impact of pain at EU level.

As became particularly clear during the first Focus Group on developing indicators to measure the quality of pain management, different European countries with different European health care systems have distinct request and conditions, as Kress stresses: “Our European Community is not one entity, it is a patchwork carpet of different countries, with different histories, traditions, health care systems, as well as social systems”. Alberto Grua, Executive Vice President of Grünenthal Europe & Australia, continues: “I feel that one of the main objectives, something that we should be proud of as potential results from these kinds of meetings in the future, is to really take the opportunity to align and harmonize the way we want to ensure that patients are treated properly.”

The first recommendation for a European set of indicators for the SIP Recommendations has been discussed and agreed upon during Focus Group 1; these recommendations will then have to be defined and explained in more detail during further working sessions in the future. Next to the European Recommendations, also country-specific, national recommendations shall be generated. The final Recommendations working document you can find on the SIP Website.

Topic of SIP 2013 Focus Group 2 was to show the significant impact of chronic pain on the EU workforce.  Based upon best practice projects from different EU countries, a Proposal for Action for bringing chronic pain patients back to work was discussed and agreed upon. Amongst others, the group calls upon European governments to take into account:

  1. Strong, early involvement of stakeholders […] to ensure a holistic and collaborative approach towards the successful implementation of future projects.
  2. Development of guidelines for healthcare professionals […]
  3. Development and implementation of chronic pain patient education programmes and chronic pain patient activity/work programmes […]
  4. Continuous monitoring/governance and evaluation systems […] and risk-management procedures to ensure consistent, quality outcomes.

The final Proposal for Action working document you can find on the SIP Website.

The SIP Platform and the objectives of this year’s Focus Groups are also being supported by Ms Waltraud Klasnic, Austrian Member of the European Economic and Social Committee: “It is my function to represent the European Economic and Social Committee, to listen and support that the task of (managing) pain in Europe will be recognised and implemented.” The scientific framework of SIP 2013 is under the responsibility of the European Federation of IASP® Chapters (EFIC®). The pharmaceutical company Grünenthal GmbH is responsible for funding and non-financial support (e.g. logistical support). -ENDS-

Notes to Editors:

About the Societal Impact of Pain (SIP)

The "Societal Impact of Pain" (SIP) is an international, multi-stakeholder platform created in 2010 as a joint initiative of EFIC® and the pharmaceutical company Grünenthal GmbH and aims to raise awareness of the relevance of the impact that pain has on our societies, health and economic systems, exchanging information and sharing best-practices across all member states of the European Union, and developing and fostering European-wide policy strategies & activities for improved pain management in Europe. The platform provides opportunities for discussion for health care professionals, pain advocacy groups, politicians, insurances, representatives of health authorities, regulators and budget holders. The scientific framework of the SIP platform is under the responsibility of the European Federation of IASP® Chapters (EFIC®). The pharmaceutical company Grünenthal GmbH is responsible for funding and non-financial support (e.g. logistical support).

For more information, please visit

About EFIC

The European Federation of IASP® Chapters (EFIC®) is a multidisciplinary professional organisation in the field of pain research and medicine, consisting of the 36 chapters of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP®), which are the IASP accredited official National Pain Societies in each country. EFIC’s constituent chapters represent pain societies from 36 European countries and close to 20,000 physicians, basic researchers, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists and other healthcare professionals across Europe, who are involved in pain management and pain research.

For more information, please visit

About Grünenthal

The Grünenthal Group is an independent, family-owned, international research-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in Aachen, Germany. Building on its unique position in pain treatment, its objective is to become the most patient-centric company and thus to be a leader in therapy innovation. Grünenthal is one of the last five remaining research-oriented pharmaceutical companies with headquarters in Germany which sustainably invests in research and development. Research and development costs amounted to about 26 percent of revenues in 2012. Grünenthal’s research and development strategy concentrates on selected fields of therapy and state-of-the-art technologies. We are intensely focused on discovering new ways to treat pain better and more effectively, with fewer side-effects than current therapies. Altogether, the Grünenthal Group has affiliates in 26 countries worldwide. Grünenthal products are sold in more than 155 countries. Today, approx. 4,400 employees are working for the Grünenthal Group worldwide. In 2012, Grünenthal achieved revenues of €973 mn.

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For further information, please contact

Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) Platform
Tel: +49 241 569 1878
Fax: +49 241 569 5 1878
Email: sip‐


European Federation of IASP® Chapters

Medialaan 24
1800 Vilvoorde – Belgium
Tel: +32 2 251 55 10
Fax: +32 2 251 48 10

Frank Schönrock

Vice President Public Engagement

Grünenthal GmbH