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Airing Pain 36: Societal Impact of Pain

Evaluating the cost of chronic pain to society and improving public health policy on pain

This programme was funded by an educational grant from Grünenthal.

In this programme we explore issues affecting the management of chronic pain across the diverse societies of Europe.

In May 2012 over 400 delegates representing 35 European countries met in Copenhagen at the third Societal Impact of Pain conference organised by EFIC (the European Federation of the International Association for the Study of Pain Chapters). Airing Pain was there to listen in and speak to patient groups and leading experts on pain and public health policy from across the continent. We hear how chronic pain accounts for 500 million lost working days in the European Union every year, costing the EU economy over 34 billion Euros.

Interviewees talk about the strengths and weaknesses of pain management in their part of the continent, including Italian successes in raising political interest in pain treatment and a shining example of good practice in Kirklees, Yorkshire.

Issues covered in this programme include: Society, policy, economic impact, pain as a condition in its own right, countries in Europe, patient voice, GPs, co-morbidities, elderly people and unemployment.


  • Professor Hans Kress, President of EFIC
  • Dr Beverly Collett Chair of the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition in the UK
  • John Lindsay, Vice President of Pain Alliance Europe
  • Justino Marasi, Manager of a company providing health care services in Italy
  • Anne Lloyd, trustee of the Patients’ Association, UK
  • Dr Judith Hooper, Director of Public Health for NHS Kirklees and Kirklees Council
  • Dr Chris Wells, president-elect of EFIC
  • Liisa Mikkonen, Finish Pain Association
  • Professor Stephen Bevan, Director of Work Force Effectiveness, the Work Foundation
  • Pia Frederiksen, the Danish Association of Chronic Pain Patients.
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