Chronic conditions have been the focus of EU policy discussions for some time, whilst chronic pain has been overlooked, despite being one of the most frequent chronic conditions doctors encounter in clinical practice.
One in five adults, approximately 75 million people in Europe, is affected by chronic pain. Chronic pain poses a substantial burden both on the individual and on society at large, including enormous economic costs caused by lost working hours from sick leave, and from healthcare and social systems in the European Union. Yet it remains poorly managed and under-treated.
European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Consumers intends to organize an EU summit on chronic diseases in 2014. The summit would review action to date and provide a forum on future needs for participants from Member States and stakeholder organizations.
This is an opportunity to include chronic pain as a topic that needs more attention and action.