Archives for : Congressman Vern Buchanan
Please copy/personalize/paste the following letter into an email and send it to the email address below to National Pain Strategy by 5/20. Let your voice be heard! Be sure to add your name at the bottom and insert a few lines of your own where specified in the letter.
EMAIL: NPSPublicComments@NIH.gov (copy and paste this email address to send)
Dr. Wanda Jones, Dr.P.H., Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health
Dr. Anand Parekh, MD, MPH, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health – Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20201
Dear Drs. Jones and Parekh,
I am a parent that has either lost a child or has one suffering from the disease of addiction caused by physician prescribed opioids. [Please insert 1-2 sentences here summarizing how this CDC declared prescribed drug epidemic has impacted your life. Include the challenges in getting adequate/affordable treatment, how it feels to helplessly stand by and witness the horrible effects of active addiction, and in the worst case scenario how it felt to bury your child, family member or someone you loved.]
I appreciate the opportunity to review the Plan and submit feedback on it. However, you must understand the most recent studies negate the use of long-term opioids for non-cancerous pain (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25581257). Many of the letters you receive are paid for by Big Pharma with brilliant, strategic, calculated, and fatal marketing strategies (http://www.uspainfoundation.org/corporate-members.html). The advisory board HHS is planning to select should not include people who have significant financial relationships with opioid makers and the “advocacy groups” CAN NOT be industry funded. This advisory panel must be transparent.
I urge the Office to create an oversight body to resolve the question of “How did we get here”? Once answered, immediate steps need to be urgently taken to put an end to the narcotic dependent pandemic crisis in this country.
New mortality data indicates that medical user deaths (taken as prescribed) are surpassing the deaths of abusers (http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031914-122957). These deaths include Veterans, athletes, workers compensation patients, elderly patients in addition to a select few chronic diseases being treated within currently “acceptable” medical standards and yet, still causing deaths.
“Unmanaged pain” is a result of the lack of non-opioid multidisciplinary management and medical standards rather than the absence of opioids. What is “immoral and unethical” is prescribing potentially addicting and lethal opioid drugs for a wide range of disorders that have been inadequately evaluated and for which opioids have never been shown to be SAFE and EFFECTIVE long term. The documented and continuing opioid overprescribing leads to 2 of the worst possible outcomes in medicine: (1) igniting the potentially fatal and most difficult disease to treat: addiction, and (2) fatal poisoning (OD) DEATH which is the worst of all outcomes and must be prevented at all costs.
Our priorities must be prevention by avoiding opioids in most patients with chronic non-cancer pain, proper treatment of the pandemic numbers of US citizens addicted to and/or dependent on physician prescribed opioids. This includes saving the lives of the many pro-opioid advocates also submitting comments. A “National Pain Strategy” must focus on the great unmet need of non-opioid multidisciplinary therapies (more expensive/time consuming than physician narcotic prescriptions) of patients with chronic non-cancerous pain, while reserving opioids for the select minority who truly need them rather than the vast majority who are now getting them.
[Insert First and Last Name, Address, City, State, ZIP]
The draft “National Pain Strategy”:
Email comments are preferred electronically to:NPSPublicComments@NIH.gov.
Written responses should be addressed to:
Linda Porter, Ph.D., NINDS/NIH, 31 Center Drive, Room 8A31, Bethesda, MD 20892.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Contact Linda Porter, Ph.D., NINDS/NIH, 31 Center Drive, Room 8A31, Bethesda, MD 20892, email@example.com
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2015 is the most expansive federal, bipartisan legislation to date for addiction support services, designating between $40 million and $80 million toward advancing treatment and recovery support services in state and local communities across the country, which will help save the lives of countless people. The bill was first introduced in September 2014, and then reintroduced in the 114th Congress in February 2015. The bill was introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, and is currently sitting in the Senate and House Judiciary committees, as well as the House Education & Work Force and Energy & Commerce committees.
CARA needs your support as it moves forward through the legislative process! We urge you to get into action and contact your Senator and Representative today and urge them to co-sponsor and support CARA!
CALL TO ACTION: NATIONAL CALL IN DAY IS APRIL 29TH
If the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act of 2015 is going to become a reality in 2015, key members at relevant House and Senate committees are needed to co-sponsor the bill.
In the Senate, CARA (S. 524) has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Currently, 12 Senators have signed on as co-sponsors of S. 524. Without support from additional members of the Judiciary Committee, the bill will not advance.
In the House, CARA (H.R. 953) has been referred to three Committees or Subcommittees. They include: The House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations; the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health; and the House Education and the Workforce Committee. Currently, 9 Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of H. 953.
FOLLOW THIS LINK – SCROLL DOWN TO TAKE ACTION – ENTER INFO – LINKS TO YOUR FEDERAL SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES – SENDS LETTER
Takes all of 2 minutes to help
save lives and suffering!
JUST DO IT NOW!
The success of and data reliability of ANY data base, is first,
that it be used.
Florida physicians and other prescribers usage of FL’s PDMP (E-Forcse)
As a result, only 12% of prescribers are using the FL PDMP in the
The Pill Mill Capitol of the United States
We are petitioning YOU to help us save lives!
Senator Eleanor Sobel (D – District 33), Vice Chair of the FL Health Policies Committee, said she would sponsor a Bill for us making the usage of the PDMP, by physicians, mandatory for schedule II, III, and IV drugs.
The bill would include the interstate exchange and possibly Naloxone and decreasing the 7 day window for script data entry. We have recently spoken with her office and were told the bill is written, however Senator Sobel is having second thoughts regarding actually filing this bill.
We need all of you to call her office and tell her why Florida needs to strengthen the PDMP by mandating physician usage.
Things to say when you call and/or leave a message:
- The PDMP is ineffective if physicians are not using it and we will continue to lose lives.
- FL will continue to see unacceptable physician prescribed over dose rates.
- There is a federal push for the mandatory use of the PDMP federally via S.2839
- The AMA supports full funding and staffing for up-to-date, interoperable, at the point-of-care prescription drug monitoring programs that are integrated into a physician’s workflow. And the AMA has communicated its support for most elements of the Obama Administration’s Plan to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse and Diversion including a national PDMP with interstate exchange operating in real time.
- Federally, S.2839 Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act 2014, includes the mandate for usage of a PDMP with inter-state exchange operating in real time. US Senator Bill Nelson (FL-D) has cosponsored this bill. http://www.billnelson.senate.gov/
Call Senator Sobel
954-924-3693(Broward) or 850-487-5033(Tallahassee)
Email Senator Sobel:
Yale Olenick: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call/Email your Senator or Representative:
Thank you for helping us save lives during this CDC declared PHYSICIAN prescribed drug epidemic.
Heroin use is a public health emergency
that calls for legislative solutions
(8/10 heroin users started with a PHYSICIAN prescription drug)
The Washington Post – January 2, 2014
On Friday, December 5, 2014, the Florida Board of Medicine said “YES” to a Florida physician who was asking permission to prescribe naloxone to his patient at risk of opioid overdose, for administration by a third party to that patient, via… intramuscular(IM) kits, off-label intranasal (IN) kits, or auto-injector.
Florida takes a HUGE step!
It has been a lot of work since our little One Spark project, but it has been worth every blood, sweat and tear.
Thank you, doctors, for exhibiting tremendous courage!
Stoppnow was invited to speak at the Statewide DEA workshop held November 5th 2014. We are very grateful to the role DEA and Law Enforcement has played to eradicate the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that our country is plagued by. We were pleased to be invited to spend the afternoon with the Diversion Agents and share our experience with the tragedy and suffering of so many in our communities. We appreciate all that they and law enforcement are contributing. Sherrif Lamberti once said that we can’t arrest our way out of this; but quite often that seems to be the case.
We have requested a meeting with the Florida Surgeon General, John Armstrong and look forward to addressing a solution to the backlog of high prescribing doctors. They are not being brought before the Board of Medicine in a timely manner and continue to be licensed and prescribing and causing deaths.
Purdue Pharma marketing tool for their fatal/addictive prescription drug OxyContin.
4/5 heroin abusers started with physician prescriptions.
When will this US Senate Investigation be complete?
Lives continue to be lost and addiction is proliferating. We have been at an epidemic status for years. How many more lives will this cost until this investigation is completed? This is simply unacceptable to the citizens of the United States. The citizens you are charge to protect. The public health safety of the United States continues to be jeopardized by this inaction.
May 8, 2012
John H. Stewart
President and Chief Executive Officer Purdue Pharma L.P.
One Stamford Forum 201 Tresser Boulevard
Stamford, Connecticut 06901-3431
Dear Mr. Stewart:
As Chairman and a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, we have a responsibility to the more than 100 million Americans who receive health care under Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP. As part of that responsibility, this Committee has investigated the marketing practices of pharmaceutical and medical device companies as well as their relationships with physicians and non-profit medical organizations.
It is clear that the United States is suffering from an epidemic of accidental deaths and addiction resulting from the increased sale and use of powerful narcotic painkillers. According to CDC data, “more than 40% (14,800)” of the “36,500 drug poisoning deaths in 2008” were related to opioid-based prescription painkillers.1 Deaths from these drugs rose more rapidly, “from about 4,000 to 14,800” between 1999 and 2008, than any other class of drugs,2 killing more people than heroin and cocaine combined.3 More people in the United States now die from drugs than car accidents as a result of this new epidemic.4 Additionally, the CDC reports that improper “use of prescription painkillers costs health insurers up to $72.5 billion annually in direct health care costs.”5
In Montana, prescription drug abuse is characterized by the state’s Department of Justice
as an “invisible epidemic” killing at least 300 people per year and contributing to increases in addiction and crime.6 According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MedPage Today, a “network of national organizations and researchers with financial connections to the makers of narcotic painkillers helped create a body of dubious information” favoring opioids “that can be found in prescribing guidelines, patient literature, position statements, books and doctor education courses.”13 For example, the Sentinel
reported that the Federation of State Medical Boards, with financial support from opioid manufacturers, distributed more than 160,000 copies of a model policy book that drew criticism from doctors because “it failed to point out the lack of science
supporting the use of opioids for chronic, non cancer pain.”14
In a ProPublica story published in the Washington Post, the watchdog organization examined the American Pain Foundation, a “health advocacy” organization that received “nearly 90 percent of its $5 million funding from the drug and medical device industry.” 15 ProPublica wrote that its review of the American Pain Foundation’s “guides for patients, journalists, and policymakers play down the risks associated with opioids and exaggerate their benefits. Some of the foundation’s
materials on the drugs include statements that are misleading or based on scant or disputed research.”16
In 2003, a GAO report pointed to Purdue’s partnership with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) as possible means for Purdue to have “facilitated its access to hospitals to promote OxyContin.”17 The report revealed that Purdue “funded over 20,000 pain-related educational programs through direct sponsorship or financial grants” in addition to
funding the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization’s (JCAHO) pain management programs.18
Although it is critical that patients continue to have access to opioids to treat serious pain, pharmaceutical companies and health care organizations must distribute accurate information about these drugs in order to prevent improper use and diversion to drug abusers.
As part of our effort to understand the relationship between opioid manufacturers and non-profit health care organizations, please provide the following information:
1) Provide a detailed account of all payments from 1997 to the present between Purdue and the following organizations in table format:
i. The American Pain Foundation
ii. The American Academy of Pain Medicine
iii. The American Pain Society
iv. The American Geriatric Society
v. The Wisconsin Pain and Policy Study Group
vi. The Alliance of State Pain Initiatives
vii. The Center for Practical Bioethics
viii. Beth Israel Medical Center, Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care
ix. The Joint Commission (and all related entities)
x. The Federation of State Medical Boards
i. Russell K. Portenoy, M.D. – Chairman, Department of Pain Medicine And Palliative Care at Beth Israel Medical Center
ii. Scott M. Fishman, M.D. – Chief, Department of Pain Medicine, University of California, Davis
iii. Perry G. Fine, M.D. – Professor of Anesthesiology, Pain Research Center, University of Utah School of Medicine
iv. Lynn R. Webster, M.D., F.A.C.P.M., F.A.S.A.M. – Medical Director and Founder, Lifetree Clinical Research & Pain Clinic
v. Rollin M. Gallagher, M.D., M.P.H. – Director of Pain Management, Philadelphia Veteran Affairs Medical Center
vi. Bill McCarber, M.D. – Founder of the Chronic Pain Management Program for Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, CA
vii. Martin Grabois, M.D. – President, American Academy of Pain Medicine
viii. Myra Christopher – Kathleen M. Foley Chair for Pain and Palliative Care, Center for Practical Bioethics
c. For each organization or individual identified in 1(a) and 1(b), provide:
i. Date of payment.
ii. Payment description (CME, royalty, honorarium, research support, etc.).
iii. Amount of payment.
iv. Year-end or year-to-date payment total and cumulative total payments for each organization or
2) All documents and communications from 2004 to the present pertaining to the book, “Responsible Opioid Prescribing: A Physician’s Guide,” distributed by the Federation of State Medical Boards.
a. Provide the names, titles, and job descriptions of all employees who collaborated with the Federation of State Medical Boards, Dr. Scott Fishman, or third-party contractors on the development of this book.
b. For each employee identified in 2(a), provide a summary of the work performed pertaining to the book.
3) All documents and communications from 2007 to the present pertaining to the development or changes to JCAHO’s19 pain management standards, including but not limited to communications with the American Pain Society and other organizations involved in developing JCAHO pain management standards.
4) All documents and communications from 2007 to the present pertaining to the development or changes to The American Pain Society’s pain guidelines.
5) All documents and communications from 2004 to the present pertaining to theAmerican Pain Foundation’s Military/Veterans Pain Initiative.
6) All documents and communications from 2007 to the present pertaining to any policies, guidelines, press releases and/or position papers distributed by the American Pain Foundation.
7) All presentations, reports, and communications to Purdue’s management team or board of directors from 2007 to the present pertaining to the funding of and/or collaborations with of any of the organizations or individuals specified in request 1(a) or 1(b).
In cooperating with the Committee’s review, no documents, records, data, or other information related to these matters, either directly or indirectly, shall be destroyed, modified, removed, or otherwise made inaccessible to the Committee.
We look forward to hearing from you by no later than June 8, 2012. All documents responsive to this request should be sent electronically, on a disc, in searchable PDF format to my staff. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Christopher Law with Senator Baucus at (202) 224-4515 or Erika Smith with Senator Grassley at (202) 224-5225.
Charles E. Grassley Max Baucus Senator
1 CHS Data Brief, No. 81, December 2011 at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db81.pdf.
3 CDC Press Release, “Prescription painkiller overdoses at epidemic levels,” November 1, 2011 at
4 LA Times, “Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show,” September 17. 2011
5 International Business Times, “Prescription Painkiller Overdoses Cost Insurers $72.S Billion Yearly: CDC,”
November 3, 2011 at http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/242437/20111103/prescription-‐painkiller-‐overdoses-‐cost-‐
6 See the Montana Department of Justice website at http://doj.mt.gov/prescriptionabuse/.
7 Bureau of Business and Economic Research, “The Economic Cost of Prescription Drug Abuse in
Montana”, June 2011 at http://mbcc.mt.gov/PlanProj/Projects/PDMP/Prescription%20Drug%20Abuse%2020110629.pdf.
8 Iowa Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, “Iowa Drug Control Strategy: 2012,” November 1, 2011 at
10 NY Times, “Tightening the Lid on Pain Prescriptions,” April 8, 2012 at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/09/health/opioid-‐painkiller-‐prescriptions-‐pose-‐danger-‐without-‐oversight.html. 11 NY Times, “In Guilty Plea, OxyContin Maker to Pay $600 Million,” May 11, 2007 at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/11/business/11drug-‐web.html.
12 See Senate Finance Committee, “Staff Report on Sanofi’s Strategic Use Of Third Parties to
Influence the FDA,” at http://finance.senate.gov/newsroom/chairman/download/?id=69451e85-‐4d4c-‐403b-‐93e0-‐2d5e7b4010be; ProPublica, “Financial Ties Bind Medical Societies to Drug and Device Makers,” May 5, 2011 at http://www.propublica.org/article/medical-‐societies-‐and-‐financial-‐ties-‐to-‐drug-‐and-‐device-‐makers-‐industry; and NYTimes OpEd, “Cleaning Up Medical Advice,” April 30, 2010 at www.nytimes.com/2010/05/01/opinion/01sat3.html.
13 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MedPage Today, “Follow the Money: Pain, Policy, and Profit,” February
19, 2012 at http://www.medpagetoday.com/Neurology/PainManagement/31256.
15 ProPublica, “The Champion of Painkillers,” December 23, 2011 at http://www.propublica.org/article/the-‐ champion-‐of-‐painkillers.
17 GAO, “OxyContin Abuse and Diversion and Efforts to Address the Problem,” December 2003 at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04110.pdf.
As pills killed kids, the state shrugged
State health officials fretted about pill mills, and how adult addicts were dying. Nobody realized that the storefront drug dispensaries were killing kids by the dozens.
“In the nondescript shopping plazas dotting Florida, the unchecked prescription drug marketplace was thriving. Called pill mills, the storefront cash businesses operated with the rush and thrill of candy stores, with long lines of pill-popping addicts chasing their next high. Collectively, it was an incubator for child deaths. Since 2008, 123 children have died after DCF had been told that one or both parents were abusing prescription drugs, a Miami Herald investigation found. More than 85 percent of the children were 2 or younger.”
Bernard Cantor, MD
Primary prescribing and dispensing physician at this DEA busted Pill Mill
The “owner” of this clinic and many other clinics, Vincent Coangelo, is sitting in federal prison.
Dr. B Cantor is now rising star now, he is teaching medical students!
He has a clear and active medical license and no discipline on file with the FL Board of Medicine
Are you ok with this type of “public health safety”, the mission of the FL DOH/MQA and Boards of Medicine and Osteopathy?