Industry groups react to CDC's new opioid prescription guidelines

On Tuesday, the CDC released its "CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain," calling for caution from physicians when considering prescribing these addictive pain killers to chronic pain patients, and industry groups did not waste time weighing in.

Patrice Harris, MD, the board chair-elect of the American Medical Association and chair of the AMA Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse, said the AMA is "largely supportive of the guideline" but also has some concerns, namely about some evidence the CDC used and possible unintended consequences of the guidelines, including "access and insurance coverage limitations for nonpharmacologic treatments…and the potential effects of strict dosage and duration limits on patient care."

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network also expressed concerns over unintended consequences of the guidance. "We are disappointed that the CDC guideline released today did not address our previously stated concern about needed access to opioid analgesics for cancer survivors who experience severe pain that limits their quality of life," said ACS CAN President Chris Hansen. "We remain concerned that without a balanced approach that accounts for the full continuum of care for cancer survivors, the emphasis on reducing inappropriate use of pain medications will impede access to necessary pain relief for individuals fighting pain from cancer."

On the other hand, the American Pharmacists Association issued a statement of support for the guidelines. "The CDC's decision to release the guidelines is consistent with other public and private efforts that aim to curb prescription drug abuse while attempting to balance patient access to medically necessary treatment," said APhA's Associate Director of Health Policy Jenna Ventresca. "The Guideline represents CDC's effort to help primary care clinicians communicate with and treat patients in pain."

Find more information on the guidelines here.

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