The mission of the Headache and Migraine Policy Forum is to advance public policies and practices that promote accelerated innovation and improved access to treatments for persons living with headache disorders and migraine disease. 

The Headache and Migraine Policy Forum promotes innovation and access to treatment by:

  • Encouraging the advancement of headache science and innovation

  • Supporting the education of patients, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders about policy issues that impact access to new and existing therapies

  • Highlighting the need for improved, multimodal means of preventing and treating headache and migraine disease

  • Engaging directly with policymakers to promote access to appropriate prevention and treatment options for all patients


THE CHALLENGE

The challenge of migraine disease as an unexplained disease means that it is difficult to treat due to a variety of reasons including scientific, social, financial, and political. The Headache and Migraine Policy Forum seeks to educate policy and decision makers about the burden of migraine disease as a condition as well as the barriers to access of effective treatment options as well as the promotion of emerging therapies.

HMPF will seek to address the following issues important to patients and clinicians:

  • Stigma - Headache disorders are the most prevalent neurological disorders, affecting more than 90% of all Americans. However, the stigma attached to this "unseen pain" means that migraine disease is often misunderstood, or dismissed as just a headache. A study from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia found that persons living with chronic migraine disease experience as much social stigma as people with epilepsy—a disease that produces far more obvious and dramatic symptoms. Part of migraine prevention involves avoiding the sights, smells, situations, and foods that trigger these headaches, further isolating patients from experiences with family, friends, or meaning lost productivity at work.

  • Economic Cost - The US annual direct and indirect economic costs of headache disorders exceed $31 billion and cause more than 1 percent of all disability and 9 percent of all lost labor in the US every year. Migraine disease is the #1 cause of US neurological disability, and #10 cause of all US disability.

  • Lack of Funding - Even with the prevalence of migraine disease and headache disorders, NIH funding for all research on headache disorders was less than 0.08% of the NIH budget ($24M) in 2014, amounting to just 50 cents per person living with migraine disease.

  • Effects Demographic Groups Disproportionately - migraine disease patients are 85% female. Migraine disease also afflicts veterans disproportionately, and may be a sign of other comorbidities such as post-traumatic stress, depression or anxiety. These findings should alert health care providers, especially those affiliated with the military, veteran health care, or women's health care, about the frequent association of migraine disease headaches and other conditions.