The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention won’t disclose how much it is paying a Seattle-based public relations firm to provide research and analysis of the agency’s image in the pain community.
Nor will the CDC say why it hired the company – called PRR – as an image consultant.
A spokesperson for PRR also declined to say why the firm was hired. But a source at the company indicated the primary reason was to analyze why the CDC’s opioid prescribing guidelines were so poorly received in the pain community and to find out “where they’ve gone wrong.”
This would be laughable if it weren’t a matter of life and death for so many pain patients. We’ve been giving constant feedback about why the CDC guidelines are cruel and unusual punishment, but they still need a PR firm to tell them where they screwed up.
Of course, any information gleaned will only be used to guide their anti-opioid PROPaganda better. I’m certain that, though this sounds like a positive step, it will only be used to find new ways to demonize opioids even more.
Basically, they are spending our tax dollars to research more ways to screw pain patients.
“They’ve heard a lot of outrage about this,” the source said. “And so they hired our firm to gauge those perceptions and talk to people and come back to them with an analysis of what those perceptions are.”
In recent weeks, PRR has been contacting “thought leaders” in the pain community to gauge their reaction to the CDC guidelines.
The CDC also isn’t saying much about its decision to hire the University of Washington to help the agency conduct a series of training webinars this summer for healthcare providers to learn about the guidelines. The agency did not say how much it is paying the university.
Three of the four faculty members who have participated in the webinars are affiliated with Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP), an organization that has lobbied the federal government for years to reduce opioid prescribing.
Jane Ballantyne, MD, is PROP’s president, and Mark Sullivan, MD, and David Tauben, MD, are PROP board members.
The University of Washington Medical Center received over $17.2 million last year for research, consulting, and grants from dozens of drug and medical device makers, many of which are involved in the field of pain management. Ballantyne, Sullivan and other faculty members at the university have previously played key roles in developing opioid regulations in the state of Washington, which has some of the toughest prescribing laws in the nation
Since everyone chosen for the webinars appears to have a bias against opioid prescribing, we asked CDC why the agency was either unwilling or unable to have a more diverse panel of speakers. We were told CDC provides “timely, accurate, and credible information to clinicians.”
“This webinar series was developed to be a continuing education training opportunity to increase clinicians’ knowledge and competencies on prescription drug overdose and offer evaluation and management strategies to help address the issue,” Leland said.
During a webinar held on Wednesday, the primary advice given to physicians was not to prescribe opioids for chronic pain and to taper patients off opioids if they’ve already started.
“A successful taper makes a patient much better able to function
Wrong. How dare she say something so inflammatory without evidence? The experiences of many pain patients who have had their opioids tapered are exactly the opposite.
It seems these folks who have never experienced chronic pain are intent on sticking to their fantasy that everyone is always better off without opioids.
And generally their experience is the pain level either doesn’t change or is actually improved,” Ballantyne said
I don’t understand where they are getting these crazy ideas. I suspect they are just pulling convenient statements out of their “back pocket” to saturate the media with these lies.
As I’ve pointed out before, repetition is the key to propaganda. No matter how wrong, if people hear these statements often enough they’ll believe them.