WASHINGTON — Jessica Hulsey Nickel had only just begun to speak at a House hearing last month when a man in the back corner of the committee room stood, unfurling a paper banner and shouting toward the witness stand.

“I would like to know how much money the Addiction Policy Forum has received from the pharmaceutical industry,” yelled Randy Anderson, a well-known addiction treatment and recovery advocate in Minneapolis. “We’ve asked the question and no one will tell us. I figured I’d fly here today and ask.”

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT Plus and enjoy your first 30 days free!

GET STARTED

What is it?

STAT Plus is STAT's premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond.

What's included?

  • Daily reporting and analysis
  • The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters
  • Subscriber-only newsletters
  • Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day
  • Online intelligence briefings
  • Frequent opportunities to engage with veteran beat reporters and industry experts
  • Exclusive industry events
  • Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country
  • The best reporters in the industry
  • The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry
  • And much more
  • Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr.

Leave a Comment

Please enter your name.
Please enter a comment.

  • This epidemic has been sold to the american people and politicians with half truth’s. Misleading facts with little data to back up claims. Most citizens don’t realize this compromises your doctor patient relationship. Gives many an open book of your medical and personal issues. The drug data Base was also misrepresented as a tool to stop doctor shopping. Truth is insurance companies have access also, witch change’s many unknown factors such as
    your rates to your insurability. Our Government also examine you, your family. This includes other doctors, pharmacist, your medical history on a computer screen including everything and anything dating back. There go’s your medical privacy. It’s not that effective,unaffordable and affects your cost and privacy. No that is not correct,never commented on this subject before !

  • You mean the same way they tell chronic pain patients to suck it up, Dr. Dave.. we didnt ask for our illnesses either. But, its ok to deny us meds, or restrict the hell out of them to the point doctors wont even prescribe them anymore.

    • There is a HUGE difference between addiction and dependence
      I am dependant on my chemotherapy for my cancer but I am not addicted to it
      Some people who use pain meds specifically opioids, in general, get addicted to them. That means that their brains actually make a molecular biological change that makes it function differently than those who use the same pain meds but don’t get addicted
      I take pain meds for my cancer pain. I am NOT addicted I stop when I want to and accept the pain and when it gets too much I can turn it back on with no mental difference. I do NOT feel high I am not craving I am not altered in any fashion
      Now an addict, if even a slight drop in dosage is not supplied, will feel all of those symptoms and added to that will usually also require a greater amount of drug in order to feel the same sensation he/she felt a few months ago with lesser amounts
      This article has absolutely NOTHING to do with day2day opioid function or doses or prescribing or even sickness it is ONLY about the fact that an organization who is supposed to be working to help addicts get clean and or assistance is being funded by the same companies who are making the drugs, to begin with
      I have NO issue with that except she is refusing to divulge the details of the relationship
      I am 100% in support of PharmaCos taking some of their profits and running them back into the addiction process. Let’s face it the addict is way past using prescription drugs they have left the sublingual and novel lollipop narcotic in favor of street-level cocaine and heroin which is FAR cheaper
      So why not allow the PhamaCos to help this mess?
      Time readers stop using STAT for their own pulpits on every article and focus on the topics at hand
      This has nothing to do with denying drugs or liability or the like
      Read Reply on Point Repeat
      Dr. Dave

  • Buprenorphine is an agonist/antagonist which means it has narcotic and naloxone properties. I was involved in a study where it was utilized in a post op recovery room and the patients hated it. It made them feel nauseous and spaced out and didn’t relieve their pain well. Vivitrol is a pure antagonist like naloxone or narcan. It will totally block any pain med. It has no use at all in patients in pain. But I have seen addiction specialists force it on people with painful conditions just to see them suffer. These agonist/antagonists are really more for the purpose of torturing people than for any real purpose if the patients have pain issues. Addiction specialists are unfortunately not ethical practitioners if they are forcing chronic pain pts to be placed on agonist antagonist drugs. That is a sadistic treatment modality to force on a pt with pain issues. But I have seen this done simply because a practitioner wanted to exert their unethical will over a compliant pain patient.

  • DKR
    Did you actually read and critique the two studies you mentioned? YES there was a SLIGHT increase in physician use of the drugs supported by free lunches handout goods and other co,complimentary things given to docs by PharmaCos BUT the difference was minimal and the overall outcome was totally nullified once the audience we polled and reviewed after suggesting that they were going to be accounted for in a federal database
    Actually, since the two papers came out and the implementation of the database more and more docs go the other way TOTALLY. If I go to a seminar or CME paid for by a company I tend to pick the seminar apart to greater scrutiny and hold the speaker and the company to a higher standard to convince me to use their drug
    I agree with you 100% that ALL it takes if openness I care less if the agency creates protocols to support one drug over another based on their financial support the question is clinical is the options equal do the choice solve the addiction problem and is the cost equated between options?
    If two drugs are equipotent both approximately the same cost then I am FINE with making the drug from the sponsoring company SOP as opposed to other options
    When it all comes down to it the choice is based on the doctor on the case and unless/until we make us robots we still decide what is best for our patients
    Dr. Dave

    • Addicts won’t get clean until we give them EFFECTIVE ways to get clean!

      The misconception is this is about obstinance and lack of willpower and sheer self-neglect. Nothing could be further from the facts.
      Facts: Addiction is an actual brain alteration that not everyone goes thru but for those who do the return path is much more difficult.
      Getting help is FAR more than motivational BS and meetings that Rah Rah the addict to magically self-correct and self-monitor until the brain starts to change back (never fully changes back in those who have true addiction hence why AA says “we are recovering alcoholics” NOT recovered or former)
      We in science and medicine need some OTHER way to return the body to pre-addiction status and to make the sensation to use go way as well as make the withdrawal much easier
      Like they say you never know until you walk a mile in their shoes
      I have never been an addict or even tried a street drug but I have worked with LOTS who have as well as being involved with drug interdiction for decades. What I KNOW is that this is NOT will power it is a disease
      NO different than telling someone to toughen up and stop their cancer before it spreads, or man up and stop the stroke bleed.

      Pretty nonsensical response huh?
      SAME exact issue when asking an addict to tough up and get help and stop drugging/drinking. They would if they could but since they can’t they don’t
      Dr. Dave

  • I have absolutely NO issue with accepting funds and or “partnering” with industry players BUT I think that the organizations need to be transparent as to how much the commercial players are contributing.

    I am 100% in favor of using the PhamaCo money to move closer to resolves. There is NO reason to assume that because they provide leadership and cash that also assumes that the organization is going to make bad societal decisions for economic reasons.
    If the organization is above board and is explaining the day2day operation and directions it is taking along with being fiscally accountable to everyone for its actions then the partnership can work very well

    This is NO different than the tens of thousands of physicians who on the various federal lists required when PharmaCos and or equipment manufacturers provide anything from lunch to free merchandise to CME tuition expenses etc

    It doesn’t ASSUME that the docs are then going to go back to their patients and treat them poorly because some PharmaCo gave up some cash in order to educate or inform on their product.

    Sure I get it that there are hundreds or thousands of paranoid scandalmongers who look at every potential as an assured absolute and who see conspiracy at every corner. That doesn’t imply they are correct. I still totally believe that we walked on the moon and that 911 was not a Hollywood hoax and there really was a plane in the side of the Pentagon.

    There will ALWAYS be bad people who use good intentions for bad outcomes or personal gain but to assume everyone will do that is wrong

    In this case, give the organization the benefit of the doubt until proven guilty that they will partner with big Pharma and together will reign in some of the deaths from opioids and narcotic uses

    Dr. Dave

    • Research shows that free lunches, etc by pharma companies directly to doctors in their offices influences their decisions and behavior. Majority of the doctors in the studies would believe that it didn’t influence their behavior. Yet their prescription writing proved that it did. This is ultimately what led to not only laws requiring transparency regarding all Pharma monies to doctors, even a $10 sandwich. Since those laws passed, the amount of money doctors receive from Pharma for such lunches and for speaking fees has reduced drastically as fewer docs do it.

      If APF and other organizations truly believe that the source of their funds does not influence their behavior, they should just have full transparency about their funding and let others draw their conclusions.

  • No where in any of these conversations do feel a focus on the killer, Fentenal. After you’ve legislated legit use of opioids for chronic pain out of use, fentenal will show up everywhere. Its already in cocaine. Tobacco, pot, alcohol are just a matter of time. There is a big problem but don’t throw the Baby out with the bathwater.

  • Lol that industry funding is acceptable in anti drug circles. These are the same people who shout over and over about the pharmaceutical companies that caused this so called crisis. VERY hypocritical of them.

  • Not sure what’s the point of this post is except to be decisive. Damn the opioid problem is the problem, ADP is actually doing something about it and you want to make an issue on who is writing the checks to fund great work ??!

    When the drug companies lawsuits are all settled and like the tobacco industry $25B is now available over 10 years to be spent in dealing with the problem they help create … What are we to do ? …Say “no thanks”….Keep your $25B …We will ask the tax payers to pay for solutions….

    Dude. Good is good …Who cares who is writing the check !!!

    My .02c

    Tim

    • I care who is writing the checks, especially when they are the ones who contributed to the deaths of our loved ones! Blood money in my eyes.

    • I don’t see it as blood money, but then I’ve zero family members who’ve gotten hooked either through scripts or recreational use.

A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day in science and medicine

Privacy Policy