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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Doctors and Patients To Be Trained by Drugmakers & Medical Education Companies

For the past few years the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been working on what they call a "risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) for extended-release and long-acting opioids." This week it was announced that the FDA finalized their opioid painkiller education plan; however, some in the medical field do not believe this education plan goes far enough.  Here are a few of the facts:
  1. The training programs will be developed by medical education companies and follow a blueprint drawn up by the FDA and the drug makers involved in the manufacturing of some 30 products. 
  2. Extended-release and long-acting opioid analgesics training will not be mandatory. Mandatory training would require Congress to pass a new law. 
  3. These classes would offer continuing education credits.
  4. The program will not cover powerful short acting opioids, like hydrocodone (Vicodin)
  5. The training programs must be available by March 1, 2013.

 According to CBS News:
"Such opioid drugs are blamed for thousands of fatal overdoses each year. The safety measures, released by the Food and Drug Administration on Monday, are designed to reduce misuse and abuse of long-acting opioid pain relievers, which include forms of morphine, methadone and oxycodone. The agency's plan mainly involves educating doctors and patients about appropriate use of the drugs."
This is a first step to provide more education for physicians, as well as patients. We invite you to read the related articles below to understand what this training program will cover and what it is not intended to accomplish. Also, here is a video from CBS This Morning when the team interviews Dr. Christopher Gharibo, Medical Director of Chronic Pain Management, NYU, regarding this new training program.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.
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