Has the Drug Enforcement Administration begun to feel the heat from the providers and patients who are suffering from the lack of medication to treat chronic pain? They had announced last year they were going to cut the opioid supply by 20%.
The DEA issued a statement this week that indicated it is working with the FDA and others involved in the supply chain:
The statement said:
“In order to prevent any pharmaceutical drug shortage that negatively impacts patients, DEA is working closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, drug manufacturers, wholesale distributors and hospital associations to ensure that patients have access to necessary hospital-administered pain medications. These include certain injectable products that contain morphine, hydromorphone, meperidine, and fentanyl.
“In recent months, the largest U.S. manufacturer of these injectable products has slowed production at one of their manufacturing facilities in order to perform necessary and required upgrades. As a result, this company voluntarily surrendered a portion of their quota allotment and DEA reallocated these amounts to three DEA-registered manufacturers of FDA approved injectable products in accordance with DEA regulations. It is important to note that an increase in DEA procurement quotas to various manufacturers cannot alone prevent future shortages as DEA does not control the quantity or the speed by which manufacturers produce these or any of their products.
“DEA is communicating actively and directly with all entities impacted and is committed to making further adjustments to individual procurement quotas as necessary and will also consider other measures that may be necessary to address potential shortages for these products.”
Chronic pain impacts 100-million people a year.
Just as a reminder to the DEA, here’s how Web MD describes chronic pain:
The feeling of pain comes from a series of messages that zip through your nervous system. When you hurt yourself, the injury turns on pain sensors in that area. They send a message in the form of an electrical signal, which travels from nerve to nerve until it reaches your brain. Your brain processes the signal and sends out the message that you hurt.
Usually the signal stops when the cause of the pain is resolved – your body repairs the wound on your finger or your torn muscle. But with chronic pain, the nerve signals keep firing even after you’ve healed.
What’s your message to the DEA?