Friday, March 6, 2009

Ethics Committees and Pain Policy

Is there a fit?

Rosemary Flanigan
March 6, 2009

All of you who are members of the Center for Practical Bioethics have received our latest publication, a policy brief entitled "Balance, Uniformity and Fairness: Effective Strategies for Law Enforcement for Investigating and Prosecuting the Diversion of Prescription Pain Medications While Protecting Appropriate Medical Practice."

Long title but a join effort of the Federation of State Medical Boards, the National Association of Attorneys General and the Center.

As research leading up to the report indicated, fewer than 0.1% of practicing physicians were charged between 1998-2006 with criminal and/or administrative offenses related to prescribing opioid analgesics (Pain Medicine. 2008:9(6) 737-47).

Contrast that figure with the Journal of American Medical Association conclusion that 40% of the 2.2 million nursing home residents in this country who live with "moderate" to "excruciating" pain daily (JAMA. 2001: 285(16): 208l).

I wondered about the atmosphere concerning adequate pain management at the hospitals in which most of you serve--and I thought that our ethics committees could do a remarkable job of education within those hospitals concerning the strategies suggested to reduce diversion and to encourage physicians to prescribe what is best for their patients without fear.

Anybody have a comment??????


New policy brief aims for balance in pain investigations

Law enforcement, medical and bioethics communities come together in search of “strategies” to balance competing interests

A new policy brief suggests several key strategies to aid law enforcement faced with the complicated case of a doctor suspected of illegal conduct related to prescription drugs. The document is a key step in the Center’s Balanced Pain Policy Initiative.


News Release, February 19, 2009

Podcast, The Bioethics Channel, with Bill Colby

Balance, Uniformity and Fairness policy brief

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