Announcing “Campaign to End Chronic Pain in Women”

To Be Launched May 19th on Capitol Hill

Campaign to Highlight Chronic Pain as Latest Example of Discrimination Against Women in U.S. Healthcare

Chronic pain – defined as pain persisting more than six months – is all too common. It is estimated to affect 25 percent of Americans and account for more than 20 percent of all physician office visits. Some people suffer from two conditions, while others have three or more. In some cases, individuals suffer from one condition for many years before developing a second or third; in other cases, individuals experience symptoms of several conditions simultaneously. These disorders make life very difficult for millions of sufferers and their families.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), endometriosis, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis (IC), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), temporomandibular (TMJ) disorders and vulvodynia are just some of the conditions that have sidelined as many as 50 million lives and cost up to $80 billion each year. These four either solely affect women, or target women at least four times more often than men.

The Campaign to End Chronic Pain in Women aims to improve the quality of life for all those living in chronic pain by raising awareness of chronic pain conditions that disproportionately impact women, as well as the neglect, dismissal and discrimination faced by women suffering from chronic pain. Men suffering the double stigma of chronic pain and conditions commonly considered to be women’s conditions will be addressed as well. You can help bring greater attention to these issues be responding to our Action Alert!

The Campaign’s groundbreaking report, to be unveiled during a congressional briefing on May 19, 2010, will offer recommended policy solutions that could save billions in wasted health care costs each year. The launch will also feature the premier of the short Campaign film, Through the Maze: Women and Pain, and the unveiling of a Campaign website. website. The briefing is being held with U.S. Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Janice Schakowsky (D-IL). All are scheduled to speak at the event, along with Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY). Representatives of the four organizations of the Overlapping Conditions Alliance (OCA) that have helped shape the campaign will highlight the findings of the report and outline the campaign.

You can be part of this ground-breaking campaign. Please contact your members of Congress with our Action Alert! and ask them to attend or send a staff representative to this important briefing. Express your support for increased research, awareness and attention to the issue of chronic pain that is barely addressed by recent health care reform legislation, but takes a huge toll on our country and its economy.

This campaign is funded by Pfizer, although it does not mention any specific product or medication. The organizations involved did not receive funding from Pfizer.

The Overlapping Conditions Alliance (OCA) is a group of independent nonprofit organizations seeking to advance the scientific, medical and policy needs of individuals affected by medical conditions that frequently overlap. More information about the OCA can be found at www.overlappingconditions.org. The OCA is comprised of the Solve ME/CFS Initiative , the Endometriosis Association, the National Vulvodynia Association and the TMJ Association. A recording of our May 5 webinar on chronic pain conditions with a preview of the Campaign to End Pain in Women is available at http://www.youtube.com/solvecfs#p/u/29/1dzQXgQvXhw.

May 17, 2010