sip 2019

The "Societal Impact of Pain" (SIP) is an international platform created in 2009 as a joint initiative of the European Pain Federation EFIC® and the pharmaceutical company Grünenthal GmbH and aims for:

  • raising awareness of the impact that pain has on our societies, health and economic systems
  • exchanging information and sharing best-practices across all member states of the European Union
  • developing and fostering European-wide policy strategies & activities for an improved pain care in Europe (Pain Policy).

The platform provides opportunities for discussion for health care professionals, pain advocacy groups, politicians, healthcare insurance providers, representatives of health authorities, regulators and budget holders.

In 2011, Pain Alliance Europe (PAE) joined the SIP platform to represent the patients in this initiative. This has been a huge step to address the real needs of patients.

In 2014, Active Citizenship Network (ACN) joined the partnership to represent the interests of the European citizens. A commitment that recognizes the key role of the civic society as a whole, totally in line with the message widespread in occasion of the Informal Council of EU Health Ministers, 2014: "It is important to remember the contribution of non-profit associations toward the development and growth of the palliative culture; and the promotion of initiatives to strengthen and support civic organizations in their work to help patients suffering from pain and patients requiring palliative care. It is vital that patients are aware of their rights and able to make informed choices” (Beatrice Lorenzin, IT Minister of Health, in occasion of the Informal Council of EU Health Ministers, 2014).

Probably, the decision to officially involve patients and citizens in the process represented the sliding door for the development of SIP. It is no coincidence that main milestones of the SIP platform have been achieved starting from 2014, as follows:

The ACN’ decision to accept the kind invitation to join SIP is coherent with our commitment in the area of pain, a commitment linked with one of the principle stated in the “European Charter Of Patients’ Rights”, a milestone to advocate on health issues at the EU and national level, based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

The Charter has been drafted in 2002 by Active Citizenship Network together with many associations. Even if no one of us were only focused on pain, the high sensitive about the respect of the person allowed us to state, among the others, the Patients’ Right to Avoid Unnecessary Suffering and Pain, as follows: “Each individual has the right to avoid as much suffering and pain as possible, in each phase of his or her illness”.

Over the years, all together we have contributed to enrich the constituency of the advocacy groups across Europe active on the topic, and contributed to increase the commitment of the European institutions on the issue: the last (2014-2019) European Council, Parliament and Commission have been probably the Institutions that, in the history of the European Union, have shown with facts to be more attentive to the needs of the European citizens suffering from chronic pain, and this attention represents an important heritage for the new European Institutions that are called to give continuity and, hopefully, to improve on what their predecessors have done.

Without any doubt, much of what has been achieved at least in the last five years is due to the great work done with transparency and respect for the institutions by the SIP - Societal Impact of Pain.

10 years later, in 2019, the platform has grown into a big SIP community with more than 300 endorsing organisations. SIP is widely seen as a benchmark for integrated multi-Stakeholder collaboration towards concrete actions and achievements.

As always, expectations are increased with respect to any successful initiative. After achieving a goal, there are many others to be reached: for sure, is still valid for Active Citizenship Network the message underlined during the above mentioned Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2014: “It is of fundamental importance to guarantee access to pain therapy (…) to reduce the existing inequalities in healthcare between regions and Member States of the European Union in the area of equal rights to health” (Beatrice Lorenzin, IT Minister of Health, in occasion of the Informal Council of EU Health Ministers, 2014).

The scientific framework of the SIP platform is under the responsibility of the European Pain Federation EFIC®. Co-operation partners for SIP are Pain Alliance Europe and Active Citizenship Network. The pharmaceutical company Grünenthal GmbH is responsible for funding and non-financial support.

To know more about SIP, visit the website

To know more:

(updated November 2019)

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