US Pain Foundation Responds to Senator McCaskill Report on Pain Group Funding

By Ed Coghlan.

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill released a report Monday alleging that from 2012 to 2017, leading manufacturers of opioids gave $9 million to pain treatment advocacy groups.

Here’s how her home state St. Louis Post Dispatch covered the story.

The report claims the arrangement “may have played a significant role in creating the necessary conditions for the U.S. opioids epidemic.”

The U.S. Pain Foundation, which we note is a partner of the National Pain Report, had been working with Senator McCaskill as she developed the report. U.S. Pain Foundation President Paul Gileno was very concerned that the report doesn’t tell the entire story of what the funding does.

“Sadly, Senator McCaskill’s office did not use all of the information we sent over about our funding and how we use it,” he said. “We were transparent and explained how we use all of our funding and how it helped our hands-on programs and services to help people with pain.”

Later in the day, Gileno’s organization put out the following statement:

U.S. Pain Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to serving the 100 million Americans living with chronic pain. As an organization entirely comprised of people with pain and their caregivers, we work hard to offer effective programs to educate, empower, connect, and advocate for people with debilitating chronic illnesses.

In order to provide these programs, we receive funding from a number of sources, including pharmaceutical companies. Our donors are listed publicly on the transparency section of our website, and the funding we receive is not used to promote one type of treatment over another. We promote a balanced, multidisciplinary approach to pain care. Doctors and their patients must weigh the benefits and the risks of all pain management options and work together to decide on the right treatment plan.

A report was recently published detailing the funding that patient advocacy and physician organizations receive from manufacturers of pain medications. U.S. Pain Foundation is included in this report. It is important to clarify that $2.5 of the $2.9 million of funding received in the last five years goes toward a large copay assistance program for cancer patients dealing with pain. The program helps to cover the high costs of treatment. The program is not limited to any specific type or brand of pain medication. (If you would like to know more about this program, please contact us.)

This funding, like any funding we receive, does not influence our values. When it comes to opioids, we believe both that people with legitimate pain have a right to effective care and that systematic changes must be made to address the ongoing opioid crisis. As a patient advocacy organization, we support the discovery and development of safer, more effective pain treatments. We also support sensible reforms like prescription monitoring programs, more training for clinicians on screening for and treating chronic pain and substance use disorder, and limits on opioids for acute pain. The chronic pain and substance use disorder patient populations must work together on solutions like these.

We are very proud of the work we do on behalf of the pain community. If you are interested in learning more about our funding, click here. To learn more about our programs, click here.

If you have comments on this story that you’d like to share with Senator McCaskill, please send me a direct email ([email protected])