At the U.S. Pain Foundation, we often send out notifications to the pain community about opportunities to take action on pain-related issues at the federal level. Most people, if they are anything like me before I became an advocate, assume weighing in on these opportunities doesn’t make a difference.
I want you to know that it does! Your voice really does matter. Federal agencies have rules for how they must handle responses to public comment periods. They are required to review and consider public comments in their final rulemaking. Typically, comments are read and then categorized according to key topics or concerns within the comments. If 1,000 people write in about a key topic or concern, it gets attention. At the very least, a large response to a comment period lets the agency know that many people are paying attention to what they are doing and will want to see their views reflected in the final product.
With that in mind, I want to encourage all people with pain to submit their comments about the urgent need for new medication options for pain relief to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by this Monday, Nov. 18, at 11:59 pm EST. Specifically, the FDA would like the public’s views on two main issues:
- Should sponsors of new opioids be required to demonstrate comparative advantage relative to existing opioids?
- What incentives would better support and encourage the development of new treatments for pain?
This comment opportunity comes on the heels of a Sept. 17 public hearing at the FDA, called “Standards for Future Opioid Analgesic Approvals and Incentives for New Therapeutics to Treat Pain and Addiction.” At this hearing, many different views on these questions from various individuals and organizations were presented. For example, some people said that no new opioids should be approved and that existing opioids should be reconsidered for possible removal. Others said that there has been a drought of innovation in pain therapeutics and that FDA should do more to encourage innovation.
Sadly, it is true that there has long been a dearth of new safe, effective medications approved for pain. We encourage you to tell FDA what impact pain has had on your life and how speeding up the development of new drugs in the pipeline could make a difference to your life and the lives of so many others debilitated by chronic pain.
Electronic comments can be submitted here. Again, the deadline is Monday at 11:59 PM EST.
Your comment doesn’t have to be long to make a difference. What’s most important is that you submit one. This is one way that you can contribute to a better future for people with pain.