“Unfortunately, the fact remains that there are still too many prescriptions being written for opioids,” FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said in a lengthy statement apparently written before the hearing began. “We don’t want to perpetuate practices that led to the misuse of these drugs, and the addiction crisis. At the same time, we don’t want to act in ways that are poorly targeted, and end up disadvantaging legitimate patients.”
Gottlieb said the FDA was encouraging medical professional societies to develop their own opioid guidelines for different medical conditions. But he stopped short of calling for issuing an FDA dissent opinion on the CDC Guidelines, instead claiming they offer “helpful guidance to prescribers.”
We already have three independent sets of guidelines on treating something as fairly straightforward as PAIN (viz. the World Health Organization, United Nations, and CDC). The results: in less than three years after the CDC took the liberty of formally weighing in, the practice of medicine has been turned on its ear.
Forgive me for being skeptical of the notion that specialists devising their own guidelines would be an effective solution. The commissioner’s statement was simply a poorly written pass after 8 hours of testimony and evidence presented which directly contradicts that particularly ill timed, canned response. Nevertheless Gottlieb concluded with a final half truth, “The CDC guidelines reinforce the need to treat pain carefully and adopt opioids as a last resort medication for most conditions.”