Doctors, Drug Companies Responsible for Opioid Crisis: Drug Policy Director

Doctors and drug companies share responsibility for the opioid crisis sweeping the nation, the head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy told USA Today.

“The root cause of our opiate epidemic has been the over-prescribing of prescription pain medications,” Michael Botticelli told the newspaper’s editorial board. “Physicians get little to no training related to addiction in general, but particularly around opiate prescriptions.” In the past year, he added, “you hear more and more physicians admitting ‘we are part of the problem and can be part of the solution.'”

Doctors need increased education on safe and effective prescribing, Botticelli said. He added doctors have a responsibility to use prescription drug monitoring programs.

He noted drug companies “have a role to play in promoting safe and effective opioid prescribing. It’s important that they acknowledge the magnitude of the epidemic and the roles these medicines can play.”

Last week, Pfizer, the world’s second-largest drug maker, agreed to adhere to strict standards for marketing and promoting prescription opioids to treat common chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis and back pain.

The company made the agreement with the city of Chicago, which sued five other opioid manufacturers over alleged misleading marketing of opioids. Pfizer was not named in the lawsuit.

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