National Initiatives Portugal

In this section, national initiatives which have been set up in Portugal can be found.

Jan 2016: Economic impact of chronic pain in Portugal

The European Journal of Health Economics

January 2016, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 87-98

First online: 22 November 2014

The economic impact of chronic pain: a nationwide population-based cost-of-illness study in Portugal


In addition to its high frequency and relevant individual and social impact, chronic pain (CP) has been shown to be a major contributor to increased healthcare utilisation, reduced labour productivity, and consequently large direct and indirect costs. In the context of a larger nationwide study, we aimed to assess the total annual direct and indirect costs associated with CP in Portugal.

A population-based study was conducted in a representative sample of the Portuguese adult population. The 5,094 participants were selected using random digit dialling and contacted by computer-assisted telephone interviews. Questionnaires included the brief pain inventory and pain disability index. Estimates were adequately weighted for the population.

More information you can find on the website of The European Journal of Health Economics

June 2012: TV Report: Societal Impact of Chronic Pain

On the 11th of June a media report appeared on Portugese national television. Chronic pain as disease costs Portugal 3 million euro´s per year and it affects around 30% of the Portugese population. Chronic pains can occur over longer periods and last for years.

During SIP 2012 many pain experts have gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark to focus the attention on the problem it is for public health. José Romão (National Program for Pain Control) and Beatriz Craveiro Lopes (EFIC®) will give a statement on this subject. Please view the full tv news report above.

May 2012: Awareness Initiative in National Parliament

tl_files/redakteur-bereich/National Initiatives/Portugal/PT_National Parliament Initiative_May 2012.jpgA awareness action about chronic pain was promoted by Fundação Grünenthal between 15-17 May 2012 in the Portuguese National Parliament. This initiative aimed the promotion of the knowledge of chronic pain as a disease in its own right and the social and economic burden of the disease, affecting 3 million adults in Portugal and costing about 3.000 millions Euros.

Please read more information in the Fundação Grünenthal newsletter.

January 2012: Publication: Indirect Costs of Chronic Pain

This article on indirect costs of chronic pain in Portugal ("Custos indirectos da dor crónica em Portugal") was published in January 2012 in the "National Magazine of Public Health" as well as presented during the 3rd international SIP symposium in Copenhagen during SIP Workshop 6 by Margarida Augusto.

tl_files/redakteur-bereich/National Initiatives/Portugal/Screenshot_TV report Dor Cronica_March 2012_lr.jpgOn 2 March 2012 there was a TV report on national television at "Edição da Manhã": Dor Cronica TV Report.

2012: National Program for Pain Management

The National Program for Pain Management emerged from the need to define new objectives and new operational strategies, as a follow-up to the NPFAP and using the experience gained so far. Hence, in order to obtain epidemiologic knowledge on pain and its distribution in the Portuguese population, to reinforce the organizational capacity of health care service providers, and to improve best practice models regarding pain management, this new National Program for Pain Management should be developed through the implementation, at national, regional, and local levels, of new strategies for intervention, professional development, and data collection and analysis.

Further Information and the full document can be found here

2012: Epidemiological study on chronic pain in the Portuguese population

A cross-sectional nationwide epidemiological study was performed in a random sample of the Portuguese adult population, aiming to describe the prevalence and impact of chronic pain (CP).

It has been shown that chronic pain is a significant problem that is present in 37% of the Portuguese adult general population, is associated with high personal, family, and social burden, and affects in particular the most vulnerable subgroups of the population.

Luıs Filipe Azevedo et al., Epidemiology of Chronic Pain: A Population-Based Nationwide Study on Its Prevalence, Characteristics and Associated Disability in Portugal, The Journal of Pain, Vol 13, No 8 (August), 2012: pp 773-783

2011: Implementation of pain medicine in the Portuguese health care system

Portugal is one of the few European countries that have already implemented pain management in its national healthcare system.

Over the last 12 years significant milestones where achieved in Portugal regarding the improvement of a legal and operational framework towards a better treatment of chronic pain. Back in 1999, a ‘Day Against Pain’ was introduced in order to promote the social awareness of the problem, followed in 2001 by the implementation of the “The National Plan Against Pain”. In 2003, pain was considered as the ‘5th vital sign’ by the Portuguese authorities and one year later, in 2004, pain management was recognized as a medical competence by the National Medical Association.

In 2008, the National Plan Against Pain, initially established in 2001, evolved to the actual National Program for Pain Control, with new objectives and new strategies. In this same year a special reimbursement of 90% for the drugs used for the treatment of chronic pain was approved, which improved the access of patients to the prescribed therapy. In 2010 a national survey was conducted to draw attention to the prevalence of chronic pain in Portugal, over the responsibility of OBSERVADOR, a coalition between the Faculty of Medicine of the Oporto University and the Portuguese Association for the Study of Pain (Portuguese IASP Chapter).

Recently, in 2011, the electronic prescription of drugs for the treatment of chronic pain has entering into force, eliminating the previous bureaucratic procedure applied for the prescription of such drugs.

Notwithstanding there are still room for improvement in the following items that are missing in the National Program: priority financing for basic scientific research, the involvement of patient interest groups in care programs and the adoption of approaches that support self-care.

2011: Portugal signs the Montreal Declaration

The Portuguese Association for the Study of Pain (APED) has signed the Montreal Declaration, joining more than 50 institutions around the world that want to ensure recognition of access to pain treatment as a Fundamental Human Right.