Shortly after the study in Pain, one of the co-authors went on to head the American Pain Society. This organization was one of several similar nonprofit groups funded by the Pharmaceutical Industry like Purdue Pharma the producers of the narcotic Oxycontin. These opioid producers also funded medical education programs and advocacy groups. Within a short time the pharmaceutical companies began an aggressive nationwide campaign to market opioids for long term non cancer pains such as back and neck pain. During the 1990’s the incidence of opioid misuse rose markedly, fueled by the number of opioid prescriptions written by many physicians and nurses. Where were the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) and the American Medical Association (A.M.A.) when they were presented with blatant disregard for the truth about opioid addiction? Did they demand scientific evidence before they abandoned 150 years of knowledge about the dangers of opioids? Where were the evidence based studies needed to refute what was known around the world about the risks of opioids? As of 2/2009, Dr Zee, writing in the Journal of Public Health revealed that” we lack any large...rigorous prospective study addressing the issue of …addiction, during long term opioid use for chronic non cancer pain.”
The medical schools and physician training programs did not publicly denounce this unscientific pharmaceutical propaganda. Why? The F.D.A., the organization responsible for ensuring that prescription drug promotion is truthful, continued to authorize more and more forms of opioids over the years. Why? To this day, the F.D.A. and the A.M.A., have refused to demand mandatory education for opioid prescribers. Why? Furthermore, The Federation of State Medical Boards accepted money from pharmaceutical firms to produce prescribing guidelines (http://www.medpagetoday.com/Neurology/PainManagement/31256).
Why did physicians not sound the alarm to expose the fact that the pharmaceutical industry was establishing treatment guidelines for the medical profession?
Dr David A Kessler, the past commissioner of the F.D.A., from 1990-1997, the very years the epidemic was accelerating, stated in an article in the New York Times (N.Y.T.) on May 7, 2016: “It has proved to be one of the biggest mistakes in modern medicine”. Doctors, regulators and drug makers “missed one fundamental: The more opioids prescribed, the more opioid abuse there will be.”
We beg to differ. This was no mistake. The reality is that physicians in the leadership of the F.D.A., A.M.A., and The Federation of State Medical Boards,willfully abandoned their scientific integrity and over 150 years of wisdom regarding the dangers of opioids. This was simply a catastrophic violation of their duty to “do no harm”. In their complicity with the Pharmaceutical Companies, many physicians and nurses abandoned their responsibility to their patients by writing prescriptions for addiction. The consequences are now staring us in the face. Well over a hundred thousand people have overdosed and died, and there are now 3 million addicts as the epidemic continues to devastate families across the nation.
Let’s set the record straight.
Dr Nayvin Gordon, Board Certified for over 30 years in Family Medicine, has written many articles on health related issues over the years. He lives in California.
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