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ISSUE NO 4 3 NEWS & REVIEWS ‘Pain’ is a topic which affects every one of us – either directly or via a person who is close to us. Unfor- tunately, up till now chronic pain has been merely recognized as an underlying symptom and not as a disease in its own right. It is there- fore not adequately diagnosed and treated and continues to result in a major burden on our society’s health care budgets and economic systems. In order to raise aware- ness of the impact that pain has on our societies, the platform “Socie- tal Impact of Pain” was created. CHRONIC PAIN A SUBSTANTIAL BURDEN FOR SOCIETY – SIP 2010-2011 and policy instruments with budget holders, strategic decision-makers and representatives of stakehol- der organisations to improve pain care in Europe(*). The symposium saw a lively debate on the first na- tional pilot projects to investigate the economic factors related to the burden of pain both on patients and the society and to point out poten- tial future innovations. There was a broad consensus that treated pain patients cost national governments, economies and societies much less than untreated patients. SIP 2010 – Initiating the Change With the first SIP 2010 symposium, change has begun. Awareness was raised on the fact that the societal impact of pain represents a huge social burden due to the high pain- related costs that governments are constantly called to deal with, in- cluding absenteeism, disability allo- wances, assisted care, informal and family care. Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) 2010: Multi-Stakeholder Platform for Knowledge Exchange In May 2010, for the first time a high-profile group of almost 200 health specialists and representati- ves from Europe’s highest ranking health authorities gathered in Brus- sels to discuss the „Societal Im- pact of Pain“ (SIP). With the EFIC® (European Federation of IASP Chapters) being responsible for the scientific framework. The ob- jectives of the symposium were to discuss the key challenges, goals, Professor Giustino Varrassi Discussing the “Societal Impact of pain” on the EU agenda: more than 300 stakeholders from all over Europe participated in the discussions during the second symposium on the “Societal Impact of Pain”, initiating first measures of EU and national policy-making. As an extraordinary achievement, the symposium “Societal Impact of Pain” was supported by all three European institutions, the EU Parliament, the EU Commis- sion and the EU Council. * The pharmaceutical company Grünenthal GmbH was responsible for organisation and logistics. Professor Giustino Varrassi General Director ASL Teramo