National Pain Awareness Week – Message from Dr. Tom Koutsavlis, Vice-President, Research & Development, Purdue Pharma (Canada)

November 6, 2017

We know that chronic pain can have devastating effects on a patient’s quality of life. For people living with chronic pain, everyday activities can be a struggle and their pain often impacts their relationships with family, friends and co-workers. While families, caregivers and colleagues can’t feel the pain in the same way, they experience its effect in a profound way.

One in five Canadian adults suffer from chronic pain. I’ve heard this statistic time and again, and I’ve seen it live in my own clinical experience as a physician, and yet, it continues to be alarming. Let me say it again: one in five of us – 20 per cent of Canadians (more Canadians than those who suffer from diabetes, asthma and COPD combined) – live with chronic pain on a daily basis. Unlike an injury with visible wounds, pain can’t be seen, weighed or measured; nonetheless, it is real. Very real.

National Pain Awareness Week is about lifting the veil on what many Canadians are dealing with on a day-to-day basis: pain. We can’t see it or touch it, but if you are one who suffers, you can feel it. And, if you are the family member, caregiver, or colleague of one of pain’s victims, you feel it, too.

Here are a few more troubling statistics.

According to the Canadian Pain Society, pain is the most common reason for seeking healthcare in Canada; it is associated with the worst quality of life as compared with other chronic diseases such as chronic lung or heart disease; and people living with pain have double the risk of suicide as compared to people without chronic pain[1]. The Canadian Pain Society estimates the annual cost of chronic pain in Canada is at least $56-60 billion[2]. As such, chronic pain costs more than cancer, heart disease and HIV combined[3].

This is a widespread tragic issue, and one that I – we – can’t ignore.

Purdue Pharma (Canada) is committed to continuing our research and development for the treatment of pain, including abuse-deterrent technologies to make misuse and abuse of prescription opioids more difficult. We are committed to finding solutions to help Canadians live with – and treat – their chronic pain that goes well beyond using available prescription products. We believe in our mission to make a positive impact on healthcare and on lives. And we’re not looking back.



[1] Canadian Pain Society. Pain in Canada Fact Sheet
[2] Canadian Pain Society. Pain in Canada Fact Sheet
[3] Pain Resource Centre. Pain in Canada Fact Sheet