By Ed Coghlan.
It’s been an interesting week for chronic pain.
A combative ex-Marine from Tennessee who has been fighting his VA and his local (and influential Congressman) earned a victory in court this week.
Robert Rose’s lawsuit against VA and Congressman Phil Roe and members of the Veterans Committee is being allowed to move forward in the courts.
Read how Robert described the decision in a piece he published on Medium (which includes the court order).
We’ve been following the discussion on chronic pain treatment in British Columbia. This week the provincial health agency decided that the reduction in opioid prescribing was starting to hurt pain patients. As a result, British Columbia doctors treating patients with chronic pain will be required to prescribe opioids without limiting dosage or refusing to see patients who are on the medication that has come to be associated with illicit overdose deaths. The standard was revised after widespread consultation of doctors in the province and patient advocacy groups that had complained people were being denied care or abandoned because they were on opioids.
The National Pain Report published an interesting commentary from Dr. Debbie Nickels Heck of Muncie, Indiana. She’s a chronic pain sufferer herself (in addition to being a wife, mother of three, grandmother of seven). We received quite a bit of positive commentary on Dr. Nickels Heck’s views.
Former NPR columnist Joy Selak reached out to say how much she enjoyed the story: “The article today by Dr. Heck is an especially fresh and informed voice and I love it that you prefaced with how you met and that you chose not to edit her.”
Reader Kathleen Kaiser also liked the comments: “Wow I really like this woman. She sounds like a wonderful doctor whose hands are being tied unfairly as both the patient and the doctor.”
We hope to hear from the doctor more in the future.
One final reminder about the survey we’ve been promoting in advance of the Public Meeting for Patient-Focused Drug Development on Chronic Pain that the FDA is holding on July 9. Terri Lewis Ph.D. is conducting the survey—which she will close on Sunday June 17 so that she can tabulate in advance the July 9th meeting. FDA is challenged with determining how to balance the need to ensure continued access to persons who rely on opioids for continuous pain relief while addressing the ongoing concerns about safe use, abuse and misuse. Determining where to place the focus on alternatives and new drug development is the focus of the meeting.
If you want to fill out the survey—which thus far has attracted over 1400 respondents representing all fifty state, you can do so here.
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