CDC clarifies opioid prescribing guideline for cancer groups

The CDC clarified aspects of its opioid prescribing guidelines for chronic pain in an April 9 letter to three cancer organizations, reports Medscape.

Deborah Dowell, MD, CMO of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, penned the letter to the following groups:

  • The American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • The American Society of Hematology
  • The National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The groups met with CDC leaders in fall 2018, outlining concerns that payers were denying patients pain medications or reimbursement due to the guideline.

In the clarification letter, Dr. Dowell said the guideline "is not intended to deny any patients who suffer from chronic pain from opioid therapy as an option for pain management." Instead, the guideline is meant to encourage physicians and patients to consider alternative pain management treatments.

"This clarification from CDC is critically important because, while the agency's guideline clearly states that it is not intended to apply to patients during active cancer and sickle cell disease treatment, many payers have been inappropriately using it to make opioid coverage determinations for those exact populations," ASCO CEO Clifford A. Hudis, MD, said in a press release.

More articles on opioids:
Artful protest: 800-pound heroin spoon with FDA logo left outside HHS office
Atrium Health joins state HHS, DOJ in opioid education campaign
New York sues 6 opioid manufacturers, 4 distributors, the Sacklers

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