Legal Group to CDC: Start Over!

Legal Group to CDC: Start Over!

The Washington Legal Foundation has called on the Centers for Disease Control to withdraw the Draft Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain and essentially to “start over”.

In a letter, dated November 17, WLF said “We call on CDC to withdraw the Draft Guideline and to generate reliable data on ways to ensure adequate treatment of patients while preventing opioid abuse before renewing efforts to write a guideline.”

WLF is a non-profit public-interest law and policy center that is described as feeling strongly “that public support for the work of federal government agencies can be maintained only so long as the public perceives that their proceedings are administered fairly.

In the case of the CDC Guideline – WLF doesn’t think it meets that test.

In the letter to Dr. Tom Frieden, Director for CDC and Dr. Debra Houry, Director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, WLF charges that “state governments and the medical community are unlikely to accept any guidelines tainted by charges that they were prepared in secret without meaningful stakeholder input and with the assistance of individuals who have serious conflicts of interest.”

The full letter written by attorneys Richard Samp and Mark Chenoweth of WLF can be viewed here.

They argue that the establishment and utilization of the Core Expert Group (CEG) violates the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA)–and urged CDC to consult with their own attorneys.

WLF also has requested under the Freedom of Information Act that CDC release all of its CEG related documents that should been released previously.

Essentially, the groups argues that the CDC process was not transparent, the CEG was a group established by CDC whose members are not federal employees, that the CDC has failed to comply with numerous procedural rules and that future administrative proceedings should be open to all “interested members of the public”.

Numerous chronic pain advocates have been very upset about the way the Guideline has been developed.

Samp and Chenoweth write, “The outcry that has arisen with respect to the current proceedings was entirely predictable in light of the secretive manner in which CDC conducted them.”

The letter concluded: “If the CDC is to overcome its tarnished image, it must begin immediately to eliminate its culture of secrecy and apply it s conflict of interest rules in an even handed manner.”

Subscribe to our blog via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 18 comments for this article
  1. Laurie at 2:37 am

    Thanks so much WLF for standing up for those of us who need opiod meds to have any quality of life. I was injured on my job 10 years ago. Because of this injury I suffer from annular tears, bulging discs in my lumbar spine, DDD, Tarlov Cyst Disease, Sciatica, arthritis, disc issues in my neck, migraine headaches, and a left elbow injury. I have terrible nerve pain. Even with the Pain MEds I am at a level 7 or 8 out of 10 every minute of every day. I also suffer from anxiety and depression. I was never able to return to my beloved Project Manager job. I rely on my cane and walker to get around. I can no longer drive. I am heavily managed by my PM doctor, Workmans Comp, and the Pharmacy. I hate taking the meds but I have no choice. I am very careful about following the dosing instructions. I know there are more people like me than those in the system who abuse drugs.

  2. ron miller at 5:09 pm

    WLF THANK YOU!!! let our voices heard!I like the others, we need the support of our doctors w/ pain management w/o the gov. telling them how to do it! We are not statistical numbers or addicts. Its been 17 yrs since my injury & managing ok w/ adequate pain meds, but the recent guideline reductions have tied the physicians hands making daily life miserable & tough on all patients in need.

  3. Brooke Keefer at 5:54 am

    I loved what Lisa wrote. I too feel like a domestic violence victim by doctors. I have major PTSD because of being denied pain medication and treated as a drug seekers though I have one of the most painful conditions known to man, as documented in medical journals, called chronic pancreatitis. Let’s send emails thanking this group and include our stories as well. Go to: http://www.wlf.org/org/contact.asp.

  4. Mary Hayden at 4:59 am

    I am so tired of paying for people who choose to abuse prescription medications, especially pain medication. And the government needs to stay out of what my doctor and I choose. Isn’t that the abortion industry’s claim? If the government has no business getting between a woman and her doctor when it comes to killing the infant in her womb, what right does it have for getting between my doctor and me when it comes to the rest of my body?

  5. Lisa at 10:43 pm

    Good news. I have been on pain medication for almost 10 yrs and I am gone through all the same emotions as everybody else in my shoes in the past 2/3 yrs. at first I was shamed by the stigma that has been placed on us because we take pain medication. I was like a battered woman made to feel like I had somehow done something wrong and had something to hide because I take medicine that people abuse. Because that’s how docs and pharmacy and even family make you feel. Then I was afraid. Afraid one wrong move and I could lose my pain medication. And be made to suffer. Well I must say now I am angry. I feel like my rights as a human being as a us citizen as a patient and a law abiding adult. One that up until this yr contributed to society for almost 30 yrs in the nursing profession.
    But now as a 49 yr old with a disease in my spine and other places in my body that caused me to need pain medication. The government and special interest groups are dictating to me and my doc how my pain can be treated and what medication I can and can not have. How dare this discrimination and violation of my rights and others as well continue.

  6. Ken at 5:18 pm

    My best friend was ready to kill herself until her Doctor referred her to a Pain Management Doctor who eventually put her on a opioid “regiment” and she has gone back to working and has some “quality of life” now. She vividly recalls how her life was prior to seeing the pain management doctor and is having anxiety attacks with the threat of her medications being taken away hanging over her head. I am also worried for her and think the government has no right interfering with doctor patient relationship. From what I have read the CDC process for setting so called guidelines is as corrupt and convoluted process
    I have seen. Thier recommendations along with how they were derived should never hold up in court !

  7. Donna Skelton at 2:35 pm

    What can we, the average citizen with or without pain, do to help? How do we make a difference and get our voices heard? Many of us struggle in the day-to-day tasks of life, and have problems with thought processes, thereby needing specifics as to what to do to make sure not one person suffers needlessly. Thank you.

  8. LouisVA at 8:54 am

    THANK YOU WLF! It’s very stressful not knowing whether I can get my meds that have helped me so much. Due to opioid therapy, the last 5 years of my life has been of the highest quality after many years of suffering.

  9. Laurence Badgley at 7:48 pm

    What people need to understand is that regulatory agencies are free to write regulations and to self-approve them. They are supposed to submit them to the executive branch and/or legislature for approval, but they have a loophole which is to approve them by a method that is called, in beauerucrateize “underground”. I kid you not. However, the regulations stand until anyone submits a written contest. Then the administrative Courts decide. I kid you not. But a citizen, any citizen, must complain. Few ever do. As a result, regulatory agencies, like vermin, gather more prey (read citizens) and grow stronger, more regulatory, and suck power from the Citizenry. This is a perverted process. The only way to protect your rights Citizens is to complain and as for redress. It is your Constitutional Right. Kudos for this organization stepping up to the plate and fighting your battle. Please support them.
    Laurence Badgley, M.D.

  10. I.Hollis at 6:06 pm

    Thank you Washington Legal Foundation!!! This is such welcome news! I am so glad there are Legal Groups that are advocating for pain patients in this climate of over regulating the doctor patient relationship! It’s getting ridiculous. Pain patients are not drug addicts, and all this stress just makes things worse for them and their families. It’s insulting to be brushed with the same wide brush as addicts. Different situation entirely! The way this was done just fosters such a deep mistrust, even if some of the ideas were valid. It was all very sneaky.
    Can all the worried patients and their families finally exhale? No one should have to watch a loved one suffer, or worry that they will have to because they can’t get proper pain treatment. Not in 2015 America.

  11. Loralie Buckley at 5:47 pm

    WLF, I can’t thank you enough for everything your doing! I have Adhesive Arachnoiditis due to a SEI! As, time goes by I’m rapidly loosing my ability to do anything and the minimal amount of pain meds I take barely touches my pain! Yet, over the past yr I’ve seen how the conservative amt of meds I take have been reclassified!

    My Dr can only right the scripts with 1-0 refills! They now require my DL for a losey 10mg valium RX and it’s tracked by the government! They’ve also become very strict in the # of days before a refill or new script. Which only leave me about 3 days of medication before I can “legally” refill making it a big hassle to fill at times!

    What scare’s me the most is I lost control over my pain a while ago! I know my condition is only going to become more painful and require stronger meds then I’m on now! As it is, I held off longer than I should have! Because, I’m in pain 24-7, I can’t sleep and when I do I wake my husband up either shouting in pain or I’m crying in my sleep 😳. My MRI in Oct,15 showed my spinal nerves are bundled together and completely blocked off from branching off to my legs. Hence, the terrible leg pain etc I’m dealing with and loosing ability to walk.

    So, what’s going to happen to me when I need more than Tylenol 5/325, low dose benzos, soma & celebrex? I’ll tell you cuz I’m already there… My Dr. who’s under the eye of big brother says, “I have to find a way to reduce the # of meds your taken because “They’re cracking down on all GP! I really think we need to refur you to a pain clinic at this point.”

    You know what most pain clinic suggest for chronic pain patients? Antidepressants, synthetic pain meds, meditation, aqua therapy, mild stretching & excercise, “counseling” and a lot of other BS! I can’t even pick up my little cat let long exercise! I can’t stand, walk or sit for very long and stairs suck!

    I was a working active duty State Certified FF EMT-B before my life was taken away from a non FDA approved treatment! I was also a volunteered for a children’s burn center and a core member of an wonderful organization. Which, travels to HS around the state to Educate teen drivers about the dangers of texting, drinking, speeding and distracted driving. Now it’s gone! Everything is gone! “I” am gone! So, if I’m denied the right to medications which will help me just get up and move? What’s the point in living like this!

    What do you need? How can we help? PLEASE LET US KNOW.

    Thank you once again 👣

  12. Kristine (Krissy) at 4:26 pm

    Scott — how do you want to help? Tell us about yourself or email the NPR or email me at kandiapple.mac@gmail.com

    We need everyone to help in different ways.

    Krissy

  13. Sue at 4:04 pm

    Thank you WLF! I suffer from adhesive arachnoiditis, which this is no cure. I live with severe unrelenting pain every single day. I, like many others have been very concerned that the CDC guidelines would cause problems for us in continuing the very medication that we need daily in order to just function. Just the pain alone is enough to deal with, then adding the additional worries about whether I’ll still be able to continue the medications that have been my only hope makes it that much worse. Why should we even have to worry about that? I’ve been managing my pain over 8 years with opioids, have no adverse effects and they help with my pain immensely. I would suffer in terrible pain without them. Us chronic and intractable pain patients need advocates that will really help us.
    Thank you again.

  14. Kristine (Krissy) at 12:36 pm

    Wow. So glad this came forward. I read it all. Still in a bit of shock. Thank you for posting this article right away! Ok what do we do?

  15. Heather at 12:07 pm

    THANK YOU to the WLF!!! Please keep us updated on any response or action taken by the CDC.