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s the nation grapples with a worsening opioid crisis, a new report suggests that drug makers provided substantial funding to patient advocacy groups and physicians in recent years in order to influence the controversial debate over appropriate usage and prescribing.

Specifically, five drug companies funneled nearly $9 million to 14 groups working on chronic pain and issues related to opioid use between 2012 and 2017. At the same time, physicians affiliated with these groups accepted more than $1.6 million from the same companies. In total, the drug makers made more than $10 million in payments since January 2012.

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  • This is a politically incorrect comment.
    Ed, this is another one sided article typical of everything being written these days by mainstream media. There are many people who legitimately need opioids long term, even for life, in order to function and survive but they are being drowned out and pilloried. And their life is being threatened — if they can’t get the meds they need, suicide or street drugs are their only real alternatives.
    A total of 10mm over 5 years across multiple manufacturers to support multiple organizations of patients and professionals who advocate for appropriate treatment of chronic pain is a scandal?? Really??? Take a deep breath and do the math. And consider there are (gasp) 2 sides to this story, like anything in life.
    Virtually all short term pain treatment with opioids are generics, and have been for decades. This is the vast majority of prescriptions, and where most of the trouble starts. Generic companies don’t promote their drugs and spend little-to-no money supporting them, including donations to advocacy or professional groups.
    Brand manufacturers all sell extended release opioids. These are only used for long term treatment of chronic pain. With the exception of theft in the homes of patients, these are not a significant source of abuse. Severe chronic pain patients legitimately need these medications. Full stop. But their need and their voices are drowned out and even outright ignored.
    A relatively small contribution each year helps organizations that represent and advocate for these people provide some small raft on a stormy sea of outrage.
    Another note of reality — almost all the fentanyl and other semi-synthetic opioids referenced in this article are illegal drugs, not Rx. This is increasingly where the addiction and overdoses are coming from. And the idea that most of these patients started on a prescription opioid and moved to street drugs lacks evidence. But that is the narrative, and it is being repeated so routinely that it has become unchallenged ‘truth”.
    I’m looking for some journalists with the courage and integrity to question the prevailing narrative. Is it you Ed? Not so far.
    The pendulum has swung so far back on pain management that legitimate patients fear for their lives.
    Can we have a little compassion and a little balance please?

  • One thing big Pharma is fighting hard against is cannabis. With good reason. As more people like myself Question, and even distrust, the medical community’s relationship with big Pharma, more will discover the numerous health benefits of cannabis.

  • I so wish that the makers of Oxycontin would reconsider there decision and still produce the drug. There are many legit Chronic Pain Patients and Veterans that require opioids to help manage there pain. The Government should stay out of the individuals and Dr’s role concerning what and how many Opiods are prescribed to each person. All we read about is the overdoses and how (they assume) it started with prescription medications. Every person should have the right to choose what they take for there own health problems, not the CDC, JEFF SESDIONS, the DEA or anyone affiliated with the government. My Uncle, who is a Veteran and is 71 years old was denied any pain medication by his VA Dr. for his constant suffering in his back, legs and shoulders. This man fought for our rights just to be slapped in his face when he asked ( for the first time ever) for pain medication. Way to go Government. America is becoming a communist country if you ask me.

    • Tammy, the announcement by Purdue was about promotion of their opioids, including OxyContin, via their sales force. Nothing about no longer manufacturing or distributing their opioids in the announcement.

  • What about those who go to a pain clinic and only get 30 pain pills to try to relieve pain for a whole month and still be in pain and not able to get any more for the rest of the month what are they suppose to do?

  • “… despite overwhelming evidence opioids are not safe or effective for the vast majority of people with chronic pain,” said Andrew Kolodny. Where is the” overwhelming evidence” Mr. Silverman? Kolodny gets away with this kind of statement all the time, but why didn’t you either print said evidence or give a link to it? I can tell you why: IT DOESN’T EXIST! There are no scientific, fact-based studies that prove this regurgitated point. I suffered Traumatic Brain Injury in 1991, and have taken every treatment known, including hypnosis, acupuncture and pain medications. The ONLY thing that works is the medication. I now have seen a Pain Management Specialist for 16 years, and have been on the exact same medication the whole time. No increases in strengths or amounts. It’s the only 16 years that I have functioned as a human being out of the 27 years since the accident. Print the evidence and give readers the footnotes to verify it. I challenge you to do so. I know that you can’t because it doesn’t exist!

  • These types of things appear to be happening with currently used psychiatric drugs too. In addition, many biases seem to operate in drug trials as indicated by the following study: Lancee, M., et al. (2017), Outcome reporting bias in randomized-controlled trials investigating antipsychotic drugs, Translational Psychiatry, 7, e1232].

  • Prescription opioids killed my best friend’s brother. Neither of us particularly liked him, but it was a tragedy his son was the one who discovered his dead body. Following a motorcycle accident, he became addicted to the opioids, and somehow he was always able to find a doctor willing to prescribe them. I believe addicts were sharing information on which doctors to go to.

    My mother was prescribed hydrocodone after a fall accident two months ago. The side effects were awful. She had terrifying hallucinations. I strongly recommended to her doctors we get her off opioids as soon as possible. If necessary for pain management, I recommended oxycodone which also produced hallucinations, but not terrifying ones. Fortunately, we’re past that point so no more opioids. There’s a crying need for new analgesics which do not have these problems, but our understanding of pain and the brain is like looking at the Moon 200 years ago and wondering how we can ever get there.

  • “The solution to the opioid epidemic is prescribing fewer opioids, and that is not a message opioid manufacturers want to promote,” said Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman-LOL, my sides!!!

    If she actually believes that, I’ve got a nice bridge to sell her

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