The objective of this study was to assess recent data on the prevalence of chronic pain as part of chronic diseases; the prevalence of chronic pain as a chronic condition in its own right; the costs attributed to chronic pain; and the European Union (EU) policies to addressing chronic pain. Recent literature was reviewed for data on the prevalence and cost implications of chronic pain in the EU. Following on from an earlier systematic review, 8 databases were searched for prevalence and 10 for cost information from 2009 to 2011 and relevant EU organizations were contacted. Ten cost and 29 prevalence studies were included from the 142 full papers screened. The general adult population reported an average chronic pain prevalence of 27%, which was similar to those for common chronic conditions. Fibromyalgia had the highest unemployment rate (6%; Rivera et al., Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2009;27[Suppl 56]:S39-S45) claims for incapacity benefit (up to 29.9%; Sicras-Mainar et al., Arthritis Res Ther. 2009;11:R54), and greatest number of days of absence from work (Rivera et al., Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2009;27[Suppl 56]:S39-S45). Chronic pain is common and the total population cost is high. Despite its high impact, chronic pain as a condition seems to have had little specific policy response. However, there does appear to be sufficient evidence to at least make addressing chronic pain a high priority alongside other chronic diseases as well as to conduct more research, particularly regarding cost.