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How much is pain costing Singapore’s ...
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Sandeep Singh Dhillon
How much is pain costing Singapore’s economy? EDGE Market Report Singapore
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SINGAPORE (June 20): Pain conditions are costing Southeast Asian economies about US$44.6 billion ($61.9 billion) in productivity losses on an annual basis – out of which Singapore’s estimated productivity losses make up about US$6.2 billion per year, according to the 2017 Global Pain Index commissioned by GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) healthcare division.

This year’s edition of the index features survey responses from 19,000 adults across 32 countries including Singapore, and its findings revealed that Southeast Asian countries rank among the highest in the world for sufferers living with everyday pain, says GSK Consumer Healthcare in a press release on Tuesday.

Through the index’s results, it was found that 85% of Singaporeans interviewed have suffered from head and body pain, with 42% reporting to suffer from body pain on a weekly basis.

Despite this, 61% and 46% of the men and women surveyed, respectively, say they suffer in silence – while a third of Singaporeans interviewed say they would delay seeking relief for their pain by weeks, or perhaps even longer.

This comes as a cost to the city state’s economy of about 2% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) every year due to missed work day and reduced workplace productivity, says GSK.

The healthcare company also finds it surprising that Singaporeans claim to have some of the lowest levels of knowledge of the medicines available to treat their pain as compared to their global peers. This includes a lack of understanding in the subjects of dosings (24%), potential risks (15%), side effects (15%), ingredients (11%), and interactions with other medicines (10%).

The study’s findings show that pain inevitably impacts relationships as well, ranging from “fading into the background” while being out with friends (57%), to having less patience with their children as a result (77%).

“While headaches, body aches and migraines might not seem to have serious consequences, the 2017 GSK Global Pain Index shows that if not managed effectively, pain can have a cumulative impact,” says Yeo Sow Nam, director of The Pain Specialist, Mouth Elizabeth Hospital and Mouth Elizabeth Novena Hospital.

“Despite the availability of many suitable and effective options for treating pain, it is concerning that Singaporeans tend to suffer in silence for longer than they should, causing a huge burden both at a national and individual level especially for those who suffer from pain weekly. It is important that people take effective steps to address their pain.”

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