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Feb-19-2013 01:39printcomments

The Fine Line Between Profit and Pain

Disease, and risks of addiction "small" Dr. Fishman?

Scott M. Fishman, MD
Scott M. Fishman, MD photo courtesy: leadersmag.com

(MYRTLE BEACH, SC) - Last month the Pain Research, Education and Policy Program (PREP) at Tufts University presented the annual "Sackler Lecture" and Scott M. Fishman, MD the Chief of Division of Pain Medicine and Professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at the University of California-Davis School of Medicine being the keynote speaker.

Dr. Fishman was attributed in Tufts publicity to be a world-renowned authority on pain management on the subject of interprofessional and competency-based education for clinicians managing pain. Further, Tuft lauded Fishman's expertise in saying "chronic, or persistent pain, is not only a personal health issue, but a public health and economic challenge for our country.

Strange that Tufts did not mention that Scott M. Fishman, MD as well as his book "Responsible Opioid Prescribing - A Physician's Guide" are currently under U.S. Senate investigation for the rise of over 400% in opioid related deaths and addictions in the past several years. Fishman's book was used as the Holy Grail to medical boards in all 50 states in an effort to push opioids for long-term therapy at all levels of pain...

If the name "Sackler" sounds familiar, it is because this family of physicians founded the company, Purdue Pharma, maker of their $13 billion blockbuster opioid, OxyContin. Purdue Pharma is also currently under U.S. Senate investigation for their part in pushing dangerous and addictive opioids such as OxyContin for all levels of pain -- including long-term prescribing with "low risk" of addiction. Fishman is also a paid speaker for Purdue Pharma. Richard Sackler, MD is one of the owners of Purdue Pharma and also on the Board of Overseers for the Tufts University School of Medicine.

This month the FDA conducted hearings on the Citizens Petition by Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP) and their call for stricter labeling on addictive and dangerous opioids in an effort to save lives.  Here is the link to PROP's Citizen Petition www.citizen.org/documents/2048.pdf.

At this FDA hearing, Dr. Fishman whose book "Responsible Opioid Prescribing - A Physician's Guide" which set the standards for prescribing opioids to every medical board in all 50 states made the following profound statements:

  • Opioids are an essential drug group within the medical treatment arsenal yet it is indisputable that we have a serious problem of over-reliance on and excessive prescribing of them.
  • Reevaluation of the current labeling for opioids for chronic pain is warranted based on the substantial change in risk data over the past several years and the current state of excessive opioid prescribing.
  • The problem of excessive prescribing points directly to prescribers’ substantial need for better education and guidance.
  • Clear consensus on safe parameters for opioid dosing would benefit prescribers as well as patients.

In Fishman's book setting the opioid prescribing precedent to every medical board in the country, he wrote "Many people also under-report pain because they fear that pain medications will dull their cognitive abilities, lead to addiction, or result in unmanageable side effects. And last, some patients may believe that there is value in suffering. It is their due, or that in some way they deserve to be in pain to expiate some form of "wrong-doing" or "sinfulness." Whenever a clinician considers treating pain with a controlled substance, such as an opioid, risks of abuse or diversion is always a possibility, no matter how remote, and must be assessed."

How about assessing the word "addictive" Dr. Fishman? Why was this word deliberately downplayed in your book to the medical profession? And risks of abuse or diversion -- remote? How do you sleep at night?

In 2005, Dr. Fishman gave an "expert interview" to a publication called "Medscape" entitled "The Current State of Pain Management - An Expert Interview with Scott M. Fishman, MD." During the interview, Fishman as President of the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM), also under Senate investigation, was quoted as saying "The barriers start with the under-recognition of the public health crisis of undertreated pain and suffering. We are going to need to reevaluate the discipline of pain medicine. Doctors must look at pain not just as a symptom, but also as a disease in its own right. We know that the risks of addiction are there, but they are small and can be managed."

Disease, and risks of addiction "small" Dr. Fishman? You have come a long way since making this opioid pushing statement in 2005 to a -- You're under Senate investigation and may be held responsible for this prescription drug epidemic -- so it may be a good time for you to back pedal in front of the FDA and PROP and take responsibility for the 400% rise in opioid prescribing leading to deaths and addictions.

If the good doctor can appear before an FDA panel and call for stricter labeling and prescribing of opioids as he did earlier this month, than the title "chameleon" will be retracted by me. But he's going to have to change his colors with more than the FDA to set the record straight with the medical profession and speak truthfully about the addiction and death epidemic because of the long-term prescription drug use he encouraged. Hopefully Dr. Fishman will sever his lucrative ties to the pharmaceutical industry and save lives by speaking the truth as a physician who took an oath to "do no harm" -- and do it from rooftops for all to hear.

Think you can shake the chameleon imagine Dr. Fishman? Won't change the damage you accomplished in your book, but you might learn how to sleep well at night by breaking your lucrative ties to the multi-billion pharmaceutical industry. Think about it -- hundreds of thousands of families in the U.S. and Canada who have lost loved ones to the push for opioid prescribing think about it every minute of every day. Maybe it's time for you to think about the tragic loss of life in death and addiction every minute of every day and develop a conscience...

LP -- "Heartworm Medicine Day" was the best of the best along with the sailboat named Sampson. Love you and the arrow you shot into the air.
Marianne Skolek twitter.com/MarianneSkolek
Investigative Reporter for Salem-News.com on drug epidemic
www.salem-news.com/by_author.php?reporter=Marianne%20Skolek
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmPG1VjD61U&list=UUWoHUEr4ZAbQOfIqtOArjgg&index=6&feature=plcp
judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/testimony.cfm?id=e655f9e2809e5476862f735da12c8394&wit_id=e655f9e2809e5476862f735da12c8394-2-1
www.vawd.uscourts.gov/PurdueFrederickCo/default.asp
www.oxydeaths.com908-285-1232

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Salem-News.com Investigative Reporter Marianne Skolek, is an Activist for Victims of OxyContin and Purdue Pharma throughout the United States and Canada. In July 2007, she testified against Purdue Pharma in Federal Court in Virginia at the sentencing of their three CEO's - Michael Friedman, Howard Udell and Paul Goldenheim - who pleaded guilty to charges of marketing OxyContin as less likely to be addictive or abused to physicians and patients. She also testified against Purdue Pharma at a Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate in July 2007. Marianne works with government agencies and private attorneys in having a voice for her daughter Jill, who died in 2002 after being prescribed OxyContin, as well as the voice for scores of victims of OxyContin. She has been involved in her work for the past 8-1/2 years and is currently working on a book that exposes Purdue Pharma for their continued criminal marketing of OxyContin.

Marianne is a nurse having graduated in 1991 as president of her graduating class. She also has a Paralegal certification. Marianne served on a Community Service Board for the Courier News, a Gannet newspaper in NJ writing articles predominantly regarding AIDS patients and their emotional issues. She was awarded a Community Service Award in 1993 by the Hunterdon County, NJ HIV/AIDS Task Force in recognition of and appreciation for the donated time, energy and love in facilitating a Support Group for persons with HIV/AIDS.

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M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. February 22, 2013 1:36 pm (Pacific time)

Marianne continues to editorialize her premature findings of guilt based on the presence of an investigation. Were it ever the case that an investigation equaled guilt, there would be no need for the entire judicial system. We could convict anyone and everyone simply by calling for an investigation. It would not be essential to actually carry out the actual investigation as, it appears from Mariannes view, only the inference of investigation is sufficient to convict. How convenient.


stoppnow February 22, 2013 7:54 am (Pacific time)

Another great article Marianne! It is like David fighting Goliath. But, like someone once told me; Janet you know who won that.

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