The Government's 'Task Force' on Chronic Pain Is Requesting Your Opinions

If you have opinions about how patients should be treated when it comes to chronic pain, now is the time to make your voice heard.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has convened its Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force to discuss “gaps and inconsistencies” in acute and chronic pain management, and the public is invited to share their comments. The comment period was originally scheduled to close on May 25 but has been extended to June 15. More than 1,500 have been submitted comments so far. You can share your thoughts by clicking here.

The task force consists of 28 people led by Vanila M. Singh, chief medical officer for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health of the HHS. Members include the director of the Cleveland Clinic Pain Medicine Fellowship Program, the director of the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center, medical director of Integrated Medication-Assisted Therapy at the Maine Medical Center, the president of the Texas Medical Board and the director of inpatient pain services in the Division of Pain Medicine at the Mayo Clinic.

Also included are an addiction specialist, an interventional pain physician, a representative from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, the founder of the Illinois Pain Institute and a few professors at various medical schools around the country. There are seven people from U.S. government agencies including the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of National Drug Control Policy and the HHS.

Cindy Steinberg, the director of the U.S. Pain Foundation, is the only member of the task force representing a patient advocacy group.

The task force held its first meetings on May 30 and 31 in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Pain Foundation reports that it included two sessions dedicated to patient testimonials, presentations by doctors and medical experts, and remarks from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

In addition to sharing comments for the task force by June 15, the public is also invited to submit comments to the FDA. The FDA will be holding its Patient-Focused Drug Development for Chronic Pain meeting on July 9. Registration is sold out both for attending in person and via webcast, but the period for public comment is open until September 10. More than 290 comments have been submitted so far. Click here to submit a comment.

Getty photo by peshkov

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