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14 January 2021

Committed to improving palliative care worldwide

Dignity at the end of life - Youg and old holding hands
Around 40 million people need palliative care each year – but only 14 percent receive it.1 That’s why Grünenthal is supporting Palliative Care and raising awareness to the urgent need to improve care for people in the final stage of life.

At Grünenthal, we are passionate about preserving dignity and quality of life for people with incurable illnesses and limited life-expectancies. However, there is still an urgent need to improve care for people in the final phase of their lives. In 2019, a study by the World Health Organization (WHO)2 found that funding for palliative care was only available in 68 percent of the 194 countries surveyed, and that just 40 percent of countries reached at least half of the patients in need with these services. Pain and difficulty breathing are the two most frequent and serious symptoms experienced by patients in need of palliative care – but many patients are denied access to essential controlled palliative medicines. And the global need for palliative care is expected to continue to grow.


The promotion of hospice and palliative care has been an important topic for Grünenthal and its shareholders for many years. In 1998, for example, the Grünenthal Foundation for Palliative Care founded to promote science and research in this field, and to support care for people with severe or terminal diseases. In 2003, the foundation provided a donation to establish the Chair of Palliative Medicine at the RWTH Aachen University. And, it supports education related to palliative care worldwide through activities including scholarships for medical students. Through International Congresses on Palliative Care in Latin America, for example in Santiago de Chile in 2005 and in Lima in 2018, the Grünenthal Foundation for Palliative Care drives awareness for palliative care and promotes scientific exchange across Latin America.


Palliative care has always been close to the hearts of our employees, our leaders, and our company as a whole. We believe that providing palliative care should be considered an ethical duty for health professionals. And while progress has been made in this field in recent years, it is clear that more progress is needed. That’s why Grünenthal is dedicated to improving the quality and availability of care for people in the final stages of life – and driving progress towards our vision of a world free of pain.
As part of its public relations activities, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) implements a new edition of its #WeWon'tRest campaign every year. The campaign gives its members an opportunity to discuss a topic of their choice with the public. Grünenthal decided to dedicate its contribution to this year's campaign to the topic of palliative care. And we teamed up with the University Hospital Aachen to highlight the special importance of this area.
2 “Assessing national capacity for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases: report of the 2019 global survey”. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2020. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.