Furthering Balanced Pain Management: Lessons from EU Advocates

The article points to similarities and differences in the EU and US pain communities: “As in the United States, chronic pain in EU is a prevalent condition that is costly to both the individual and society at large. (…) The economic toll is staggering. As SIP notes, chronic pain is one of the major reasons why people leave the labour market prematurely and causes 500 million days of illness per year, costing the European economy more the €34billion. But we also differ in some ways. One striking difference was apparent in the discussion of opioids. Given the level of opioid misuse, diversion, addiction and overdose in the United States, domestic pain management discussions often focus solely on opioid policy and regulation. As an American at the SIP meeting, however, I was struck to hear presenters cite the lack of access to opioids as not only a clinical concern, but also a human rights issue.

The SIP formula was appreciated: “Advocates of balanced pain management can learn much from SIP, particularly in one area: the ability to collaboratively define and pursue specific goals. (…) The level of policymaker attention given to last week’s symposium was a testament to the initiative’s success.

In the United States, “the Alliance for Patient Access is doing just that through its role on the steering committee of the Alliance for Balanced Pain Management. AfBPM’s recent release of the white paper “A Call for Understanding and Greater Access to Balanced Pain Management,” is a step toward defining the necessary vision. The AfBPM Annual Summit, scheduled for December 2016, is an opportunity for stakeholders to promulgate their own roadmap toward balanced pain management.

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