Objective: The European Forsteo* Observational Study (EFOS) study was primarily designed to assess fracture incidence, degree of pain, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and compliance in women prescribed teriparatide in a community setting. This report describes the design of the study and characteristics of the patients at entry. Methods: At entry, 1645 postmenopausal women with a diagnosis of osteoporosis and about to initiate teriparatide treatment were enrolled in eight European countries. Baseline data were collected on demographic characteristics, medical and osteoporosis history, disease status, prior use of medications and HRQoL. Results: The mean (standard deviation [SD]) age of patients was 71.5 (8.4) years, lumbar spine bone mineral density (BMD) Tscore was –3.3 (1.2), the mean number of previous fractures reported after 40 years of age was 2.9 (2.0), 70% had two or more vertebral deformities and 91.7% were pre-treated with bisphosphonates. HRQoL, evaluated by the health state value (HSV) (median: 0.59, Q1; Q3: 0.08; 0.71) and visual analogue scale (VAS) (median 50.0, Q1; Q3: 35.0; 69.0) status of the European quality of life questionnaire (EQ5D) was poor. Extreme problems were reported by 31% of patients for the pain/discomfort dimension, mobility was limited in 69% and anxiety/depression was reported by 57% of patients. Chronic or intermittent back pain was reported by 91% of patients, which occurred every day or almost every day within the last month in 66% of patients. Conclusions: The post-menopausal women prescribed teriparatide were severely osteoporotic, with a high fracture risk and poor HRQoL, despite previous therapy for osteoporosis. Moderate to severe back pain was very common.