FDA: Let's talk about pain

  • by: |
  • 09/01/2014

Much chatter about a pending FR notice announcing an FDA public meeting on pain medications. Good idea or bad idea?

Well, as the Beltway saying goes, where you stand depends on where you sit. On the one hand there’s the side of science and the public health. Is open public debate useful? Absolutely. And timely.

On the other there are those with less than altruistic interests. The tort bar for one and ambitious politicians for another.

What does “success” look like? For the FDA and like-minded public health advocates, success means advancing safer and more safely used pain medications. For learning and accelerating applied science.

For others it means headlines and a hefty payday.

Which story is more media-friendly? If you don't know the answer to that one, do some internet research on the vaccine/autism link and the debate over SSRIs and teen suicidal ideation.

(Hint – science doesn’t win media inches.)

Who will testify at the FDA meeting? Who will serve on the expert panels? Who will the FDA participants be?

It’s good news that the session will not be an advisory committee. No votes are likely to be taken. Nor will it probably be a Part 15 affair where only “listening” is required of the agency.

It’s FDA leading – but the devil is in the details.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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