(January 15, 2016) The American Osteopathic Association and four specialty affiliates have submitted comments to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the agency’s draft Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.
The letter expresses concerns regarding the lack of transparency and openness in the drafting of the guidelines, the potential for these guidelines to be adopted as prescriptive policies by health systems, payers, or federal agencies, and the inability for stakeholders to provide input on the recommendations.
The CDC originally intended to finalize and issue the guidelines without a public comment period, but due to significant controversy and push-back from a wide variety of stakeholders, including patient advocacy groups, provider groups, and others, the agency opened a brief comment period.
CDC has convened a working group to process and report on the comments by January 28. These guidelines are particularly important to osteopathic family physicians as the guidelines are specific to the primary care setting. The national organizations are urging the CDC to rethink the guidelines and incorporate the expertise of all relevant specialties, and to ensure that guidelines allow for individual patient circumstances.
The letter also highlights the distinctive nature of the osteopathic approach to medicine, including for chronic pain, and underscores the contributions osteopathic family physicians can make in addressing the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic. The Ohio Osteopathic Association has joined the American Osteopathic Association and other state divisional societies and specialty affiliates in partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in a commitment to increase opioid prescriber training, increase the number of physicians certified to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder treatment, and to increase the number of physicians registered with their state Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), and more.