A bill introduced by West Virginia Democratic Senator and Indiana Republican Senator is drawing fire from chronic pain patient advocates.
The bill they call The FDA Opioid Labeling Accuracy Act would “prohibit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from allowing opioids to be labeled for intended use of ‘around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment’ until a study can be completed on the long-term use of opioids.”
Jeffrey Singer writing for the Libertarian Cato Institute said, “Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Mike Braun (R-IN) are still trying to address the fentanyl and heroin overdose crisis—soon to be joined by a methamphetamine and cocaine overdose crisis—by denying chronic pain patients access to pain relief.
Meanwhile, he continued, “they should take a look at the government’s own numbers. The data show there is no correlation between the number of prescriptions written and the incidence of non-medical use of prescription opioids or prescription pain reliever use disorder. And less than 10 percent of opioid-related overdose deaths in 2017 involved prescription pain relievers unaccompanied by other drugs such as cocaine, heroin, alcohol, or fentanyl.”
Richard “Red” Lawhern Ph.D. left Senator Manchin’s office an email that in part said.
“Get your head out of a very dark place and withdraw the bill which would deny effective pain relief to patients already in agony. You are trying to ‘solve’ the wrong ‘crisis’ by restricting availability of the only class of therapy that works for the majority of those who suffer severe pain. And you are doing so despite conclusive proof that physicians prescribing to their patients did not cause and are not now sustaining our public health crisis.”
Manchin said in a press release: “I have introduced this bill today with Senator Braun to address how the FDA approves opioid prescriptions for treating different types of pain. Addressing the opioid epidemic has always been my top priority and I will continue to fight for legislation that helps West Virginians and our country fight this epidemic and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass.”
According to Senator Manchin, “The FDA Opioid Labeling Accuracy Act would prohibit opioids from being labeled for intended use to treat long-term chronic pain, except for cancer pain, end-of-life care or when a prescriber has determined that all non-opioid treatments are inadequate or inappropriate.”