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US senator is urging the Department of Health and Human Services to delay a two-day workshop on opioid prescribing that is scheduled to start on Tuesday over concerns that some of the participating organizations have financial ties to drug makers that sell pain pills.

In a letter last Friday to HHS Secretary Tom Price, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) urged HHS to review “serious” conflicts of interest in order to ensure a “genuine balance of views” and “diminish the influence of companies that have a financial stake in loosening opioid prescriber guidelines.”

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    • Hi Pat,

      Thanks for the note. And that’s a fair point. According to OpenSecrets, the insurance industry was the third-largest contributor to Wyden, with nearly $719,000 from 2011 through 2016. And the pharmaceutical industry ranked seventh with $560,000 in contributions.

      So yes, the insurance industry is a big contributor, and so is pharma.
      That said, he still raises a valid point. Or do you disagree with the premise that, perhaps, the ties between these groups and those involved in the effort to devise prescribing practices is not worth noting and exploring?

      Your thoughts?
      ed at pharmalot

  • I am, along with the 100 millions of other Americans, are on the other end of opioids. I am one of these 100 million Americans who have chronic incurable pain disease. As the CDC, DEA and Medicaid and medicare, and numerous other government associates, are blaming Dr’s for the over prescribing of medication, NOBODY, is looking at or reading the statistics from chronic pain disease patients. How about not addressing these drugs as dangerous and addictive. Let’s look at them as lifesaving and medically necessary for the million of Americans with a chronic disease? Chronic pain is a disease. It is now becoming an epidemic.
    No other disease medication is scrutinized. We as patients are being denied, dismissed and overlooked by our drs due to all the scrutiny associated with treating chronic pain disease. Our Dr’s are afraid to treat us adequately. We have a disease that medication is readily accessible to us and we are being denied. We pain patients are truly being discriminated against, due to people who have used heroin, illegal fentanyl, and placed a blame on anyone but themselves. This is a witch hunt for Dr’s who prescribe life saving medication for pain disease patients who benefit from this medication.
    We have a chronic disease. We want to be able to take care of our homes, our children, our selves, as much as possible, but without access to these life saving medications, we are unable to do so. We want to live not just exist in pain 24/7.
    We need the government agencies to look at the real statistics, not the hand picked.
    We need help. With all the headlines, topics and stories on how opioids are bad, let’s look at what good they do for our disease of chronic pain and the million of Americans they help.

  • I have to ask what about the Conflict Of Interest of this workshop having law enforcement in the form of the DEA & Defense Dept, not to mention two federal addiction agencies, NIDA & SAMHSA? Not one federal agency there will be representing the pain patients.

    Whether the workshop is delayed or not, the web page where the public can post comments is open until July 10, here’s the details:

    Here’s a link to the web page for the conference, if you want to read about it:

    https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/04/18/2017-07821/training-health-care-providers-on-pain-management-and-safe-use-of-opioid-analgesics-exploring-the

    Here’s a link to the portal that will take the public to the comment page:

    https://www.regulations.gov

    Here’s the code to put in the big blue box at the top of the page to direct the person to the comment thread for this conference/topic:

    FDA-2017-N-1094

    Please pass this along to anyone else you think might be interested in sharing their opinion of federal restrictions on pain patients.

    I think it would be great if we could get a large number of comments telling them that chronic pain patients are the last people in the country who are going to let their meds fall into the hands of illegal users, and that depriving chronic pain patients of their meds is not going to be the tipping point in winning the war on drugs.

    Thanks!

  • While Wyden is splitting nickels the addiction experts had their meeting last week at a Harvard Sponsored conference at the Cambridge Marriott.

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