Maintaining Legitimate Access to Prescription Medications
High-quality palliative care must include timely, effective management of the distressing symptoms of serious illness. Medications, including opioid analgesics, are a critical tool in this effort. For many patients, even short delays in accessing needed medications can be devastating.
AAHPM considers the broad availability of high-quality palliative care to be of paramount importance, yet its members also recognize the need to address the scourge of prescription drug abuse. AAHPM believes it is essential, though, to strike the proper balance between reducing abuse and maintaining legitimate patient access to needed medications. This focus on balance serves as the Academy's guiding principle when it weighs in on prescribing issues.
Opioid analgesic scheduling and labeling have recently seen intense scrutiny from the FDA, DEA, and Congress. AAHPM is a constant voice as these institutions examine the issue, working to stress the scope and severity of legitimate need to access prescription opioids. When the administration considers a change affecting medications and is soliciting public comment, AAHPM will connect you so that your voice is heard. For background on the Academy's positions, see the Want to Know More? section on the bottom of this page.
Partnerships for Balanced Opioid Policies
AAHPM pursues opportunities to partner with other organizations to shape the broader discourse about the proper role of opioid analgesics in the treatment of pain.
Collaborative for REMS Education (CO*RE)
AAHPM is a founding member of the Collaborative for REMS Education, which represents a wide array of professionals, including primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, addiction specialists, oncologists, pain management specialists, and hospice & palliative medicine (HPM) physicians. The group has developed education addressing safe and effective opioid prescribing, appropriate use of opioid antagonists, safe storage and disposal, abuse-deterrent formulations, addiction and use disorder screening, and prescribing in special populations.
Read AAHPM's comments to the FDA on its blueprint for REMS Education.
AMA Opioid Task Force
AAHPM also serves as a member of the AMA Opioid Task Force. This group of healthcare associations is working to develop policy recommendations, clinical best practices, and educational resources to reduce the nation’s burden from opioid-related misuse, overdose and death.
Review the Task Force recommendations and resources at www.end-opioid-epidemic.org.
National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative
AAHPM Public Policy Committee co-chair, Kyle Edmonds, serves as the Academy’s representative on a Prescribing Guidelines and Evidence Standards Working Group, one of four new groups established under the National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic. The Collaborative is examining drivers of the opioid crisis and how to coordinate multidisciplinary, public-private responses.
Want to Know More?
To learn more about this topic, connect to opportunities to engage in advocacy, and follow along with the work of the Academy, you can:
- read the Health Policy and Advocacy News
- access AAHPM's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Guidelines
- Access AAHPM’s Pain and Symptom Management Pearls for Practice (part I; part II)
- read AAHPM comment letters to federal organizations concerning opioid regulation:
- January 2016 comments to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention regarding their proposed 2016 guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Paino
- December 2017 comments to the FDA Opioid Steering Committee regarding the agency’s request for how the committee should be used to address unprecedented rates of opioid use disorder
- read about AAHPM’s work on the Pain and Palliative Medicine Specialty Section Council in the AMA House of Delegates, where AAHPM members were instrumental in drafting and securing passage of a new policy directing the AMA to advocate against misapplication of the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain
- watch AAHPM’s webinar on managing substance abuse risk during opioid treatment for chronic pain
- read AAHPM Quarterly articles that focus on finding balance when prescribing opioids
- Looking for Balance in Prescribing Opioids - Summer 2018 Feature
- Buprenorphine Use for Patients with Substance Abuse Disorders - Summer 2018 Clinical Pearl
- Considering Nalbuphine for Opioid-Naïve Patients - Fall 2018 Clinical Pearl
- review the Public Policy Priorities