Statement from the American Pain Society

McCaskill Report on Pharma Company Financial Support for Pain Organizations

Newswise — CHICAGO, Feb. 13, 2018 -- The American Pain Society (APS) said today it is disappointed that Senator Claire McCaskill’s report on financial support for pain organizations from companies that manufacture and market opioid pain medications, released last night, contains simplistic, misleading and insulting conclusions regarding support that APS has received in recent years from the pharmaceutical industry. 

We also are disturbed that no one from the Senator’s staff contacted APS to inquire and learn the truth about our policies and procedures governing industry grants.  Had they done so, we would have explained in detail the educational and pain research initiatives APS continues to pursue to help resolve the opioid crisis.  APS leaders were major contributors to the landmark National Pain Strategy (NPS). The Society is active in developing policy recommendations to implement the NPS goals to expand opioid education and training for prescribers and to increase funding for pain research to improve treatment options that mitigate the use and need for opioids in the clinical setting.

In any given year, APS revenues from industry are devoted to unrestricted grants for education and specific projects, such as young investigator research (whereby the grantors are not allowed to influence content), advertising, and exhibits. It appears Sen. McCaskill unfairly and naively equates financial support with undue industry influence and control.  This simplistic and incorrect assumption damages our reputation for scientific integrity and advocacy on behalf of pain management clinicians, researchers and patients.  We wish the Senator’s office had taken the time to speak with APS leadership before writing its report.