The Treat the Pain Program

Treat the Pain is an international program within the American Cancer Society to improve access to pain medicines. The program provides technical support to improve patient access to opioid analgesics, with a focus on low and middle-income countries with high unmet need for pain relief.

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In 2009, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) created the Global Access to Pain Relief Initiative (GAPRI), a joint initiative to make essential pain medicines universally available by 2020. In the three years since its creation, GAPRI and its Treat the Pain campaign have grown quickly, with projects in five countries that have provided 2.8 million days of pain treatment and liaised with numerous high-level agencies to support global advocacy.

To continue to maintain this momentum towards universal access to pain relief, UICC and ACS decided in 2012 to streamline the administration of the initiative by each taking on a more specialized portfolio of work. ACS is leading GAPRI’s Treat the Pain program, which provides direct technical assistance and implements projects in low and middle-income countries. GAPRI’s founding Director, Dr. Meg O’Brien, directs the Treat the Pain program at ACS. UICC focuses on GAPRI’s work at the international policy level on a global policy and advocacy strategy.

Existing projects continue unchanged: those in GAPRI partner countries through ACS and global policy and advocacy projects through the UICC. The only visible impact of the change is a more responsive and nimble administration of our projects and grants.