Federal panel for pain killers has ties to big pharma


Gosh there’s no conflict of interest here. Nearly a third of members of the federal Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee have financial ties to companies selling opoid drugs. In a shocking coincidence the panel has strongly opposed federal plans to recommend doctors scale back on prescribing legal heroin. Because that’s what these opoids are.

Our government is essentially a drug pusher for highly addictive drugs. The FDA approved OxyContin for children without bothering to convene a panel of experts to make recommendations. Opiate addiction from legally prescribed pills is a major health problem nationwide among adults, to such an extent we have the obscenity of TV ads offering drugs to help with constipation caused by using opiates.

Any relation between this and a government that actually cares about the health of its citizens is of course strictly coincidental. And if this happened in a Third World country, we’d laugh at how corrupt they are.

The government advisory panel consists of federal scientists, outside academics and patient representatives. Of the 18 committee members at a recent meeting to discuss the government’s handling of pain issues, at least five had drug-industry connections.

One, a pain specialist from Duke University, has received thousands of dollars in payments from drugmakers, including OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceuticals, which sells generic painkillers. Another, a patient advocate, holds a nonprofit position created by a $1.5 million donation by Purdue.

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