The Federation of State Medical Boards is meeting in Fort Worth, Texas this weekend—and the “opioid” crisis is on the agenda.
“The State Medical Boards must lead the effort on regulation of the opioid crisis. The DEA and other federal agencies must work with the Medical Boards to avoid confusion with physicians legitimately taking care of their patients.”
Sherif Zaafran, MD, tweeted out his comments made as the Federation meeting got underway.
Dr. Zaafran is the head of the Texas Medical Board and a member of the HHS Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force and a very important voice
Saturday, he will also moderate a discussion of nationally recognized leaders who will “discuss new steps in the effort to address the nation’s opioid crisis. Included on that panel is Vanila M. Singh, MD, MACM, who is the chair of the Pain Management Task Force that calls for patient-centered approach to improve treatment of pain.
That Task Force Draft Report received some 6,000 public comments and the HHS group will gather again in May to adopt it.
“The action is at the state level,” said Terri Lewis, Ph.D. “Pain patients and physicians need to ask their state medical boards, what are you doing now?”
Just this month, two federal agencies eased some previous guidance on opioid prescribing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said many physicians have misapplied the 2016 guideline that resulted in a serious reduction on opioid prescribing. The CDC tacitly acknowledged many physicians’ responses to the opioid crisis went too far.
Earlier this month, the FDA issued a safety announcement that it said “identifies harm reported from sudden discontinuation of opioid pain medicines and requires label changes to guide prescribers on gradual, individualized tapering.”
These agencies have been receiving blowback—and plenty of it—from medical professionals who believe that the reaction to the “opioid crisis” tilted dangerously toward those who become addicted from opioids versus the million of chronic pain patients who were adversely affected by the physicians, insurers and state regulators reaction.
The question now is what will the state medical boards do with this new information?
The answers may begin to come this weekend in Texas.