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December 14, 2018

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Response to Inquiries about Payments from Opioid Manufacturers

A statement from the American Academy of Pain Medicine

As a professional medical society, the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) is committed to integrity and transparency in all of its activities. Like other professional medical societies, the Academy relies on a number of revenue sources, including membership dues, event registration fees, unrestricted educational grants, industry sponsored activities, and the sale of trade show exhibit space and advertising.

Industry sponsorships, trade show exhibits, and advertising sales represent business transactions with external companies that seek to reach the Academy’s constituents. While the Academy does not impose strict editorial control, it does have policy that helps ensure appropriate standards of accuracy are maintained.

When accepting unrestricted educational grants, the Academy adheres to the standards established by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), which accredits nearly 2,000 organizations across the country. The ACCME Standards for Commercial Support require that professional medical societies exclude industry from any influence, direct or indirect, over speakers and educational content.

In its most recent accreditation cycles (2012-17 and 2018-23), the Academy was awarded Accreditation with Commendation as a provider of continuing medical education for physicians. The six-year accreditation is the highest level awarded by the ACCME.

Response to Senator McCaskill Report

A statement from the American Academy of Pain Medicine

As pain physicians, our primary commitment is to provide the best possible care and treatment to our patients. The Academy’s policies prohibit our education and advocacy positions to be compromised by outside influences, such as pharmaceutical companies, just as newspapers and other media outlets don’t allow advertising to compromise their editorial integrity.

The CDC Guideline was created to promote safer use of opioids—not to prohibit their use. The Academy supports the Guideline and believes that opioids should be considered as part of a comprehensive pain management plan. Anything less could put the health of our patients at risk.

Surgeon General Public Health Advisory Urges More Americans to Carry the Opioid-Reversing Drug, Naloxone

A statement from the American Academy of Pain Medicine

The American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) applauds U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH comments urging more Americans to carry naloxone, a lifesaving medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

In a public health advisory, the Surgeon General encouraged patients currently taking high doses of prescribed opioids as well as other members of the medical community and general public to carry naloxone as a preventative measure.

As the Academy outlined in its July 2015 comments supporting efforts to maximize the availability of naloxone, naloxone saves lives and has no significant negative effects.

“AAPM strongly supports easy and widespread access to naloxone as an important tool for reversing potentially fatal opioid overdoses as part of the comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic,” says AAPM President Steven P. Stanos, DO. “The Academy looks forward to working with the Surgeon General’s Office to further raise awareness, education, and support related to the use of naloxone.”

AAPM Supports FDA in Development of Evidence-Based Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

A statement from the American Academy of Pain Medicine

The American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) welcomes FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s comments suggesting the development of evidence-based opioid prescribing guidelines. We stand at the ready to participate in the development of these guidelines for common procedures that could then be incorporated into drug labeling, including the need to safely control patients’ post-operative pain, with time-limited opioid medications when necessary, while at the same time limiting any over-prescribing of opioid medications.

As pain physicians, our primary commitment is to provide the best possible care and treatment to our patients. AAPM represents a diverse scope of physicians who are on the front lines of helping patients manage their pain, through a multidisciplinary approach, incorporating a variety of modalities. Our members include anesthesiologists, internists, neurologists, physiatrists, psychiatrists, surgeons and others.

AAPM members are the most knowledgeable and experienced physicians to assist the FDA in developing evidence-based opioid prescribing guidelines, and we look forward to the opportunity to share our expertise with the FDA.

AAPM Statement on National Decline in Opioid Prescribing

A statement from the American Academy of Pain Medicine

Data released by IQVIA, a health care consulting company that regularly gathers prescribing data from pharmacies across the country, documenting a 22-percent decrease in opioid prescriptions nationally between 2013 and 2017 clearly shows that prescribers have been more judicious in prescribing opioids to their patients. It also reinforces a key tenant of pain medicine: there are alternative medication and non-medication modalities for treating pain, and opioids are only one of many treatment options that healthcare providers can utilize to help treat their patients and improve their quality of life.

When juxtaposed with the staggering increase in opioid-related overdoses and deaths in the same period, a 22 percent decrease in opioid prescribing is striking for other reasons as well. Together, these statistics shine a bright light on the fact that many Americans are increasingly likely to obtain illicitly manufactured fentanyl, heroin, and even more deadly contaminated heroin and fentanyl, leading to overdoses and tragic deaths and less likely as part of a clinician-prescribed treatment plan for patients with chronic pain. Clearly, simply writing fewer opioid prescriptions may help to decrease availability for misuse and abuse of prescription opioids and other adverse events, but will not be the single answer to our growing national opioid epidemic.

Further, these IQVIA statistics underscore the importance of differentiating addiction from chronic pain disorders. In contrast to the sharp decline of opioid prescriptions, opioid related deaths are on the continual rise. People with pain and people suffering with addictive disorders need access to respective pharmacologic, behavioral, and other treatment modalities. As members of AAPM, we remain dedicated to helping to improve the function and quality of life for people in pain and facilitating the identification and referral of patients with addiction to professional providers.

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AAPM

American Academy of Pain Medicine