Press releases

Five best practices have been awarded today during the event titled “Patients’ right to avoid pain: reducing the burden of COVID-19, promoting best practices across EU”. It has been hold in the framework of the cycle of Eu Webinars «Health at the heart of the future of Europe», which the Italian NGO Cittadinanzattiva-Active Citizenship Network (ACN) will hold to feed the debate of the Conference on the Future of Europe and it included the Award Ceremony of the bi-annual project: “European Civic Prize on Chronic Pain Collecting Good Practices”, la cui terza edizione has been realized with support of Pfizer Inc.

This multi-stakeholder event - which involved civil society, patients, experts, institutions - provided an occasion for demonstrating what the community can offer in terms of good practices, as well as sharing experiences useful for raising awareness about the condition, enhancing the knowledge of positive cases and success, and strengthening the commitment on this topic. Throughout 2020 and 2021, this initiative has allowed us to collect 44 Good Practices coming from 13 different countries: Spain (4), Italy (19), Portugal (5), Belgium (2), Germany (1), The Netherlands (1), Ireland (1),Denmark (1), UK (3), Austria (1), and from extra EU countries: 3 from USA, 2 from Canada, 1 from the Dominican Republic.

Divided into four categories (patients’ empowerment, innovation, professional education, clinical practices), plus an additional category about “covid-19 special actions”, the good practices were evaluated by a pool of international experts on chronic pain. These experts came from the European Pain Federation (EFIC), the Sine Dolore European Pain Foundation, the European Hospital and Healthcare Federation (HOPE), the European Union of Private Hospitals (UEHP), the Pain Alliance Europe (PAE), the European Confederation of Care Home Organisations (ECHO), the European Multidisciplinary Network in Pain Research and Education (EMNIPRE), the European Headache and Migraine Alliance (EHMA) and from “NoPain” Foundation.

The main characteristic of the third edition of the “European Civic Prize on Chronic Pain” is that the pandemic has heavily influenced - but not blocked - the management of this edition of the Prize and our more general commitment on the theme of the fight against pain. While waiting to be able to operate in presence again, a series of remote activities have been put in place, aimed at strengthening and motivating the network of interlocutors sensitive to the issue.For a more exhaustive illustration of our long-term commitment on the subject, please click here.

“The pandemic has inevitably made the condition of patients suffering from chronic pain even more invisible and neglected. We hope that in the Recovery Plans the Member States will also allocate adequate resources to the fight against pain.The collection of good practices on this topic that we have been carrying out for years represents an experiential baggage that we hope can be enhanced to the fullest, also because, from the good practices collected it emerges clearly that, as often happens, it is the team and not the individual that wins. Multidisciplinary medical teams, collaboration between public and private sectors, dialogue between the world of research and patient associations, involvement of civil society, etc. are always present in most of these experiences. The hope is that these same actors will not be excluded in the implementation phase of the Recovery Plans for actions that have the health of European citizens at heart, including patients suffering from chronic pain " declared Mariano Votta, Director of ACN-Cittadinanzattiva.

The 5 Winners

The Jury, composed by healthcare experts, has selected the 5 winners of the prize and evaluated them for each of these seven criteria: reproducibility, innovation, added value, appropriateness,sustainability, Intersectoral collaboration, participationThe winners will be given the opportunity for a publication in English on a suitable journal.

  1. "From venomous animals to innovative pain treatments” - Winner for the category “INNOVATION” 

Markus Muttenthaler Associated Professor of the Institute of Biological Chemistry, University of Vienna, Austria: “Chronic neuropathic pain results from damage to the central or peripheral nervous system due to injury or disease and is a leading cause of disability. Existing painkillers have several limitations, including poor tolerability and addiction concerns; therefore, there is an urgent need to develop better and non-addictive painkillers. Neuropathic pain is transduced via a complex network of ion channels and some of these have been identified as highly promising new targets for painkillers. Intriguingly, peptides from the venoms of spiders, cone snails, and scorpions can selectively and potently block such ion channels. We use such venom peptides to study pain pathways, validate new pain targets, and develop therapeutic candidates with improved properties compared to currently available painkillers. By combining these research activities with teaching, collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry, and public outreach, we aim to accelerate application-oriented research into neuropathic pain and to bring new innovative solutions to people that suffer from chronic pain”.

  1. "SIP’s pledge to uphold and implement the European Pillar of Social Rights” - Winner for the category “PATIENTS’ EMPOWERMENT”

Patrice Forget from Societal Impact of Pain, Belgium: “The 'Societal Impact of Pain' (SIP) platform is a multi-stakeholder partnership led by the European Pain Federation EFIC and Pain Alliance Europe (PAE), which aims to raise awareness of pain and change pain policies. In 2018, SIP published its Joint Statement which includes recommendations for policy action highlighting opportunities for action and collaboration by the European Commission, Member States, and civil society to reduce the societal impact of pain. These recommendations are based on the findings of the SIP Framing Paper. These recommendations form the over-arching and guiding principles for SIP, and are divided into four categories: health indicators, research, employment, and education. It is our view that the recommendations of this Framing Paper are directly relevant to the European Pillar of Social Rights. The SIP partners pledge to help uphold and implement the Pillar via its activities in these fields. We hope that these recommendations are also seen by policy makers as useful to the implementation of the Pillar via their own policy actions”. 

  1. “Musculoskeletal pain: knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of physiotherapy students” - winner for the category “PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION”

Sónia Gonçalves-Lopes, Professor of the Escola Superior de Saúde Jean Piaget Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal: “Chronic Pain is one of the main reasons why people seek physical therapy. Pain is a cerebral natural way of alert to a problem, but chronic pain persists for weeks, months or even years. Regardless the body damage, this condition can be present and have different impacts on people’s functionality (e.g.: decreased activity level, absenteeism, financial problems, depression). We know that professional’s attitudes and beliefs about pain can influence their intervention and therefore, it´s important to be fully prepared to provide an adequate support. We need to start with the students, evaluating and improving their knowledge, better prepare them to intervention and, make some changes in the curricula to address new strategies, if necessary”.

  1. " NO a la Guía INSS" - winner for the category “CLINICAL PRACTICES”

María José Félix Mora, President of the Spanish National Coalition of Fibromyalgia, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Electromagnetic Sensitivity CONFESQ, Spain: “CONFESQ is the Spanish National Coalition of Fibromyalgia, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Electromagnetic Sensitivity. They are a non-profit association established in 2004, representing more than 50 organizations. Their aim is to defend the patients’ rights and interests as well as their relatives. In 2019, the Spanish Social Security Institute published a guide for evaluating work disability with outdated and insufficient bibliography, without the participation of specialist doctors, with incomplete definitions of the 4 diseases and with wrong International Classifications of Diseases (ICD). So, that is why CONFESQ launched the campaign: “No a la Guía INSS.

  1. "Pain Management in COVID-19" - winner for the NEW category "COVID-19 SPECIAL ACTION” 

Paolo Notaro, Director of Pain Medicine Department of the Niguarda Hospital in Milan, Italy: “In order to deal with the pandemic emergency due to SARS-CoV-2, and the subsequent hospital and primary care structures reorganization, we believed providing practical, specific diagnostic and therapeutic recommendations in COVID-19 patients would be fundamental. In this scenario, these practical tips could help primary care physicians and hospital clinicians in pain management, as well as in delirium, anxiety and sleep disruptions treatment. The target population is represented by both COVID-19 inpatients and outpatients with pain of RED Pain Network in Milan, regardless sex, age and healthcare background. This pathway, was implemented in all the RED Pain Network healthcare structures, shared on the RED Network website and on the healthcare organization website. 70% of healthcare professionals have successfully used these recommendations being able to have only <10% patients requiring emergency treatment, <20% patients who needed telephonic follow-up, >70% patients with controlled pain during the disease”.

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