The American Pain Foundation announced last Tuesday evening that it would "cease to exist, effective immediately." That should make all of us fighting prescription drug abuse "very happy, effective immediately."
The organization had received a letter from the Senate Finance Committee notifying it of an investigation launched by the committee to uncover the details of relationships amongst pharmaceutical manufacturers, physicians, and "patient advocacy" organizations like the American Pain Foundation. This comes on the heels of a great piece by ProPublica in December that found the group had received 90% of its funding in 2010 from the pharma and medical device indisturies.
Turns out, this made it hard for APF to find anyone to give them money.
On its web site, the group states the following: "As you unfortunately know, the need for public outcry around the needs of Americans struggling with pain conditions is greater today than ever before in light of the multi-front assault occurring daily on our right to dignified care. Misguided state and federal policies are impeding access to appropriate and reasonable medical care for people struggling with pain, and deterring even the most compassionate medical providers from treating anyone with pain conditions."
You see? This is why the dissolution of the organization is a good thing. While the rest of us are fighting to ensure the appropriate use of prescription medications, this group was complaining about "misguided state and federal policies." While we acknowledged that new statutes and rules should (and many do) create carve-outs for those with cancer diagnoses and instead focused our efforts on limiting the use of powerful narcotics for non-malignant musculoskeletal pain, the APF told anecdotal stories about patients not able to access needed drugs.
An early victory for Senators Grassley and Baucus. Unintended, perhaps... but a victory nonetheless.
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