Patients – How we support patients in need

Access to appropriate pain treatment is a basic human right. As a leader in pain management, we help to educate healthcare professionals and patients about how to use medicines responsibly. We also raise awareness and increase the accessibility of current treatments while developing new medicines for unmet medical needs.

Grünenthal’s focus on patients is the core of our sustainability approach. Our four key material topics directly support our vision of a World Free of Pain.

Responsible Use of Pain Medication

This approach is built on three pillars that form the basis of our business relationships: strict governance, close involvement of our business partners, and education about pain medication for healthcare professionals and patients.

Our sustainability ambitions
Continuous development and improvement of Grünenthal’s Opioid Responsibility Framework.
Continuous expansion of the network of business partners that have committed to our Opioid Responsibility Framework for Business Partners.
Further expansion of the CHANGE PAIN™ (CP) hub, ‘CP Responsibly’, featuring Grünenthal and independent Responsible Use of Pain Medication educational resources.
Postponed launch of an educational expert forum on Responsible Use of Pain Medication in Latin America from the end of 2022 to end of 2024 (with a pilot to bridge until then), to be recognised as the platform for Responsible Use of Pain Medication by international healthcare professionals by the end of 20261

1 We are currently shifting towards being more customer centric across the organisation. We are embedding set-up of the Expert Forum in the change process and are therefore delaying its go-live.

How we bring our ambitions to life

Portrait Fabian Heisig Head Global Drug Safety

“It is our duty to integrate all stakeholders in the processes of finding appropriate pain therapies and preventing misuse.”

Fabian Heisig

Initiative Lead, Head Global Drug Safety and QPPV


visitors to our educational websites about pain management in 2022.

Female Doctor in an online appointment with a patient

Education about pain treatment and the responsible use of opioids

Patients in pain need access to appropriate pain treatments. We believe responsibly prescribed opioids should be one of the options available. However, while opioids can provide benefits for patients in pain, they may also carry risks. These risks include inappropriate use, misuse, abuse and diversion, as well as the risk of addiction. That is why it is essential that physicians prescribe opioids after careful consideration of the benefits and risks, and that they evaluate all available treatment options.

Our Opioid Responsibility Framework

Our Opioid Statement

Our Opioid Statement is a one-page document that clearly highlights the risks and benefits of this class of medicines. We use this statement in all materials related to opioids. It clarifies our position for all of our stakeholders and aims to foster a mindset shift along the entire value chain.

... Link to statement

Our Opioid Charter

Our Opioid Charter underpins Grünenthal’s position about the responsible medical use of opioid analgesics in pain patients. Our Strategic Committee on Responsible Opioid Usage ensures clear guidance, coherent behaviour, continuous improvement, training and control mechanisms.

... Download infographic

Our Opioid Communication Guidance

The Opioid Communication Guidance defines principles that apply to all promotional content for these pain treatments. It places a strong focus on ethical responsibilities related to opioid usage.

Awareness & Accessibility

Raising awareness and enabling access to pain medication are core focus areas for us. We aim to ensure that pain is acknowledged as a disease in its own right, and we want to ensure access to appropriate medicines that treat pain. We strive to raise awareness and accessibility through a diverse range of initiatives within one holistic awareness and accessibility platform with three pillars: A global governance structure, globally aligned content and formats, and a roll-out plan that focuses on communication and training.

Our sustainability ambitions
Increase the focus, reach and impact of our global and local activities for Awareness & Accessibility by aligning them strategically under one global platform.
By having a clear strategy regarding governance, transparency and accountability, we ensure that our Awareness & Accessibility initiatives have a lasting impact on patients’ lives.
Use our global network to collaborate with external partners to identify best leverage opportunities for our unique expertise to have a lasting impact on improving pain management.

How we bring our ambitions to life

Portrait Nina Frederiksen Compliance Officer UKINOR Grünenthal

“Societies need to be more aware of pain as a disease and better identify unmet pain management needs.”

Nina Frederiksen

Working Group Lead Awareness & Accessibility, Compliance Officer UKINOR

Awareness and accessibility initiative aim infographic

Chronic pain and palliative care are two areas with a clear need for improved education, increased awareness and better access to appropriate treatment – everywhere in the world. Read more about the impact of chronic pain in our section Understanding Pain.

€4.4 m

invested worldwide in awareness and accessibility initiatives in 2022.

Man holding his back in pain

Awareness of pain as a disease

Our aim is to raise awareness about the impact of pain – and chronic pain in particular – by supporting a multi-stakeholder platform called the “Societal Impact of Pain” (SIP). It fosters the development of pain policies on a national level. Around 40 percent of European countries now have a national action plan for pain management. Our Pain Toolkit provides patients with practical tips and explanations about how to manage and prevent pain.

Expanding access to palliative care

Elderly senior aged patient on bed with geriatric doctor holding hands for trust and nursing health care, medical treatment, caregiver and in-patient ward healthcare in hospital

Palliative care support in Europe

The Foundation’s achievements include facilitating the creation of the Department of Palliative Medicine at the Aachen University Hospital in 2003 – the first of its kind in Germany.

Today, 17 chairs and professorships in palliative medicine and paediatric palliative medicine exist in Germany.

Ill woman in bed looking out of the window.

Palliative care support in Latin America

In Peru, our work supports a master’s degree in Palliative Medicine and Pain Management at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. Launched in 2018, it is the country’s first academic programme in this field. Almost 100 professionals have now graduated and are creating palliative care units across Peru.

Responsible Innovation

Despite many years of scientific research, not all pain can be adequately treated. Our R&D experts are dedicated to finding solutions for unmet needs.

Our sustainability ambitions
Reducing cycle time and resources required for de novo candidate discovery through machine learning (ML) (baseline 18 months; goal in 2025, 14 months).
Improving clinical trial design through ML-based patient phenotyping (baseline 0 trials; goal in 2025, 2 trials).
Improving understanding of treatment effects in clinical studies and post-approval through objective measurement of mobility and sleep (baseline 1 study; goal in 2025, 2 studies).

How we bring our ambitions to life

Researcher at Grünenthal looking through microscope

Impact Initiative: R&D for Unmet Pain Needs

With this Impact Initiative, Grünenthal aims to build data-driven human disease understanding along the R&D value chain and to enhance our ability to create truly novel medicines for patients in need.

Portrait Gillian Burgess Head of Research Grünenthal

“Our initiative aims to bridge gaps in disease understanding – including pain targets, biomarkers and patients’ phenotypes.”

Gillian Burgess

Initiative Sponsor, Head of Research

Achievements in 2022

  • Machine Learning: First models are being used in projects to reduce cycle times and decrease resource requirements for discovering new candidates.
  • Machine Learning-based patient phenotyping: First models developed according to plan for osteoarthritis and neuropathic pain.
  • Objective measurement of mobility and sleep: Analysis of digital data from three projects is striving to improve our understanding of treatment effects in clinical studies and post-approval.

Product Governance & Safety

Our products are made to manage pain. High standards for safety and quality are essential.

Our sustainability ambitions
97% ‘on-time’ submissions to authorities worldwide for Individual Case Safety Reports (ICSRs).
Maintain or exceed the current level of recognised compliance with global pharmacovigilance standards.
100% compliance with the International Conference on Harmonisation-Good Clinical Practice (ICHGCP) standards and other applicable ethical standards.

How we bring our ambitions to life


of 1,018 employees at our headquarters completed pharmacovigilance training via eLearning within the last 12-month cycle.


external quality certifications awarded to Grünenthal’s manufacturing facilities.


of Individual Case Safety Reports (ICSRs) conducted on time for health authorities in Europe and Latin America.