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World Patient Safety Day, observed annually on 17 September by the World Health Organisation (WHO), aims to raise global awareness about patient safety and call for solidarity and united action by all countries and international partners to reduce patient harm. The theme of the 2022 Day is ‘Medication Safety’  with the slogan ‘Medication Without Harm’.

The problem of Too Much Medicine

According to the WHO, medication harm accounts for 50% of the overall preventable harm in medical care, and billions of euro in global total health expenditure worldwide can be avoided if medication errors are prevented. Concerning pain, there are issues with both overuse and underuse of pain medicine. Some people lack access to adequate pain relief that could help them live a better quality of life, while others receive pain medicine unnecessarily or in too large a dose for too long a duration. For example, people with chronic primary low back pain or musculoskeletal pain. All medicines carry harms, and the ultimate decision to prescribe or take a medicine comes down to whether the possible benefit of taking the medicine outweighs the potential harm. This is very individual and previous experiences of other treatments play a big part in decision.

At the European Pain Federation EFIC, we would like to bring attention to our papers on Opioids and Cannabis based medicines which can be found here. The patient-friendly version of the European Clinical Practice Recommendations on Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain, developed by Pain Alliance Europe (PAE) with EFIC’s support, is now also available! Read it here.

If you wish to educate yourself further, find out more about the #EFICAcademy, our main resource for pain education featuring many sessions for physicians on our education platform. You can also find out more about our next EFIC Congress taking place in Budapest, Hungary in September 2023 under the theme “Personalised Pain Management: The Future is now”. 

To read more about World Patient Safety and download several interesting resources, please visit https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-patient-safety-day/2022