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Pain Management and Opioids Continue to Dominate the Federal Discussion

Posted By Katie Duensing, Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The inaugural meeting of the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force (required under Section 101 of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016) will be held on Wednesday, May 30, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Thursday, May 31, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., in the Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. This meeting will consist of the swearing in of the Task Force members, an overview of various topics surrounding pain management, and the establishment of the Task Force subcommittees.  Members of the public will have an opportunity to provide up to three minutes of oral testimony at the meeting on May 30th from 11:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m., and on May 31st from 1:50 p.m. to 2.20 p.m. Individuals are also welcome to submit their written comments by Friday, May 25th.

Caring for our Military: Considering Non-drug Therapies for Pain, a lecture hosted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, will be held on Monday, June 4th on the NIH main campus, Building 10, Lipsett Amphitheater, and will also be available via live videocast. This lecture is the second in NCCIH’s Integrative Medicine Research Lecture Series, which aims to provide overviews of the current state of research and practice involving complementary health approaches and explores perspectives on the emerging discipline of integrative medicine.

FDA will hold a public meeting on Patient-Focused Drug Development on Chronic Pain on Monday, July 9th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The public meeting will provide patients (including adult and pediatric patients) with an opportunity to present to FDA their perspectives on the impacts of chronic pain, views on treatment approaches for chronic pain, and challenges or barriers to accessing treatments. FDA is particularly interested in hearing from patients who experience chronic pain that is managed with analgesic medications such as opioids, acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antidepressants; other medications; and non-pharmacologic interventions or therapies. Electronic comments will be accepted until September 10, 2018.

Congress continues to work on a large number of bills related to opioids and pain management, including a number that would increase access to comprehensive, integrative pain management. On May 17th, the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced 32 bills to the full House for a vote. Included in the bills advanced were bills adjusting payments to encourage non-opioid drugs for post-surgical pain management (HR 5809) and injections (HR 5804) and a bill related FDA guidance on non-addictive pain treatments (HR 5806). On May 16th, the House Ways and Means Committee advanced seven bills related to opioids, one of which (HR 5723) requires that by March 15, 2019 the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) report to Congress on: Medicare payment for pain management treatment options in a hospital setting; incentives under Medicare hospital payment for prescribing opioids relative to non-opioid alternatives; and tracking and monitoring of opioid use through Medicare claims.

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