American Pain Society To Cease Operations

Board of Directors Files Bankruptcy Petition

Newswise — CHICAGO, June 28, 2019 – Since 1977, the American Pain Society (APS) has served as a leading advocate for advancing pain research and multidisciplinary pain management.  Its annual meetings and publications have provided many years of cutting-edge education for practitioners treating patients with chronic pain.  Today, the organization announced it filed for Chapter 7 protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Over the past year, APS has been named a defendant in numerous spurious lawsuits related to opioids prescribing and abuse. The organization’s financial health has deteriorated as a result of the litigation.  In addition, APS has experienced membership declines, decreased sponsorship revenues and lower meeting attendance. 

“It’s the perfect storm and now pointless to continue operations just to defend against superfluous lawsuits.  Our resources are being diverted to paying staff to comply with subpoenas and other requests for information and for payment of legal fees instead of funding research grants, sponsoring pain education programs, and public policy advocacy,” said APS President William Maixner, DDS, PhD.  “As a result, the Board of Directors no longer believes APS can continue to fulfill its mission and meet the needs of our members and the pain care community.”

Maixner added that APS was unsuccessful in its efforts to resolve the lawsuits without anticipated lengthy and expensive litigation.  Rather than expending its remaining resources on defending what it believes to be meritless lawsuits, APS made the difficult decision to cease operations and file bankruptcy for the benefit of its members and creditors. 

“APS has been advocating for increased investment in research for many years, and it is particularly ironic that APS’s voice will go silent at this critical time in our history, when increased investment in pain research has finally become a reality in an effort to combat the opioid crisis,” said Roger Fillingim, PhD, an APS past president and professor of psychology, University of Florida School of Dentistry.  

“I am proud to have been a part of the APS and the multi-disciplinary approaches to pain management it espoused since its inception,” said Gregory Terman, MD, PhD, APS past president and professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine.  “An approach that if taught by more schools, practiced by more caregivers, funded by more third-party payers, studied by more research sponsors, and understood by more regulators and legislators would have resulted in a lot less opioid prescribing and intractable pain in this country today.”

“There is a sad irony that the professional organization best poised to provide the spectrum of science to improve the prevention and treatment of pain and related substance abuse is defunct,” said APS President-elect Gary Walco, PhD, director of pain medicine, Seattle Children’s Hospital. “Now, more than ever, our nation needs the collective efforts of leading scientists and clinicians who hold patients’ well-being at the highest premium.  The principal focus on punishing those in industry that may have contributed to the problem is shortsighted and far from sufficient.”

APS is grateful to all of its past and present members for their many significant contributions in the field of pain science.  APS remains proud of its success in increasing the knowledge of pain and transforming public policy and clinical practice to reduce pain-related suffering.

About the American Pain Society

Based in Chicago, the American Pain Society (APS) was formed as a multidisciplinary community to bring together a diverse group of scientists, clinicians and other professionals to increase the knowledge of pain and transform public policy and clinical practice to reduce pain-related suffering.  APS was the professional home for investigators involved in all aspects of pain research including basic, translational, clinical and health services research to obtain the support and inspiration they need to flourish professionally.  APS strongly advocated expansion of high quality pain research to help advance science to achieve effective and responsible pain relief. 




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