Senate Opens Investigation into Financial Ties Related to Prescription Painkillers

The Senate Finance Committee announced they have opened an inquiry that will look at financial ties between prescription painkiller manufacturers and pain experts, patient advocacy groups and bodies that set guidelines on physicians’ use of the medications.

The New York Times reports the committee wants to ensure that doctors and patients are receiving accurate information about the risks and benefits of painkillers, without regard to the financial interests of drug manufacturers.

The committee is also seeking information from several academic experts about their links to drug makers.

Companies involved in the inquiry are Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, Endo Pharmaceuticals, which makes Percocet, and Johnson & Johnson, maker of Duragesic. The American Pain Foundation, a patient advocacy group, and the Pain and Policy Studies Group at the University of Wisconsin, also received letters from the committee.

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    Robin Robinette

    May 11, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    LOTS of people make LOTS of money on addiction. It is VERY easy to establish physical dependency on many medications, especially opioids and benzodiazepines. “Health care” companies; pharmaceutical, insurance, advocacy organizations, doctors and pharmacists should ALL be considered collaborators for profiting from our current edpidemic of prescription abuse and dependence. The treatment of addiction has become privatized too, in this country. It ALL about the money. PITIFUL, but that is capitalism at work in a country where greed is glorified and quick fixes come in chemical form. What do we really expect? Why is this so shocking? And look what happened to treatment for opioid addiciton? They trotted out a new (old, really) PROPRIETARY drug that doctors could use in their offices (virtually NO training, NO supervision, NO requirements, just “recommendations” about the behavioral care of the disease) touted as “safe” from overdose…. oh don’t get me started. What a stew we are in.

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    Michael W. Shore, M.D.

    May 9, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Even if there are some improprieties, it is MUCH more relevant to consider that the insurance companies refuse,in order to maintain their profits, to provide adequate 30 day inpatient treatment for needy patients. They also utilize onerous preauthorization strategies to discourage physicians from prescribing the outpatient treatment option, Suboxone, again to mazimize their profits. Why isn’t Congress looking into this??? Dr. Shore

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