Here’s an article about “opiate” control in the USA.
First, let me share with you my comment. Click on the comment box below to read it full-size:
That’s a comment to an SF GATE article from the San Francisco Chronicle.
Here’s the SF GATE article:
(or you can read it here.)
Effort to cut painkiller prescriptions falters
Published 3:53 pm, Saturday, December 19, 2015
WASHINGTON — A bold federal effort to curb prescribing of painkillers may be faltering amid stiff resistance from drugmakers, industry-funded groups and, now, even other public health officials.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was on track to finalize new prescribing guidelines for opioid painkillers in January. The guidelines — though not binding — would be the strongest government effort yet to reverse the rise in deadly overdoses tied to drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet.
But the highly unusual move — the CDC rarely advises physicians on medications, a job formally assigned to the Food and Drug Administration — thrust the agency into the middle of a long-standing fight over the use of opioids, a powerful but highly addictive class of pain medications that rang up over $9 billion in sales last year, according to IMS Health.
Critics complained the CDC guidelines went too far and had mostly been written behind closed doors. One group threatened to sue. Then earlier this month, officials from the FDA and other health agencies at a meeting of pain experts bashed the guidelines as “shortsighted,” relying on “low-quality evidence.” They said they planned to file a formal complaint.
The CDC a week later abandoned its January target date, instead opening the guidelines to public comment for 30 days and additional changes.
Anti-addiction activists worry the delay could scuttle the guidelines entirely.
“This is a big win for the opioid lobby,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-founder of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, a group working to reduce painkiller prescribing.
CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said politics did not play a role and the guidelines remain a priority.
“We want to make sure we don’t go so fast that there are questions about our process, but we certainly don’t want to see any further delay,” Frieden said.
Frieden said the FDA and other agencies support his effort, despite the negative comments from some officials. The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees both the CDC and the FDA, said the guidelines are critical to “tackling the opioid epidemic.”
Frieden acknowledged the limited evidence comparing various treatments. “But there is no way we can wait for better evidence while so many people are dying.”
Under the proposed guidelines, doctors would prescribe these drugs only as a last choice for chronic pain, after non-opioid pain relievers, physical therapy and other options. The CDC also wants doctors to prescribe the smallest supply of the drugs possible, usually three days or less for acute pain.
Deaths linked to misuse and abuse of prescription opioids climbed to 19,000 last year, the highest figure on record, according to the CDC. Heroin and opioid painkillers caused 28,650 fatal overdoses in 2014, or 61 percent of all drug-related overdose deaths.
But industry-funded groups like the U.S. Pain Foundation and the American Academy of Pain Management warn that the CDC guidelines could block patient access to medications if adopted by state health systems, insurers and hospitals. Such organizations often look to the federal government for health care policies.
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Again, my comment is here:
Anyway, that’s the news for now, I hope you are all doing a bit better than myself.Share: