By: Bharani Padmanabhan – May, 2019
And so it ends, with a whimper rather than the expected bang of a hundred billion dollar squeeze. Even before the lucre has been extorted out of pharma companies that make pain medicines, the CDC was forced to dissociate itself from guidelines it had created in the service of Brandeis’ very own Andrew Kolodny, and his huge effort to demonize all patients with chronic pain as “addicts in heroin prep school” and that pain medicines are just “heroin lite.”
This blatantly false narrative was fabricated to drive a national hysteria aimed at creating the right conditions for the successful shake-down of pharma companies in Judge Dan Polster’s court. It itself is now a crime, apparently, when pharma executives write that they must increase sales.
The nation’s leader in progressive policies, Oregon, went the furthest by decreeing that no one on Medicaid would have their pain medicine paid for, no matter what. If you are a patient on Oregon’s single-payer plan who needs pain medicine, you are expected to do the progressive thing and commit suicide. Progressive Oregon won’t pay for pain medicine that allows you to live a full life, but will pay for a doctor to kill you.
When medical organizations finally woke up to the plain fact that Oregon was dead serious, things finally began to move in a positive direction. Numerous doctors applied moral and professional pressure on the CDC because its “opioid guidelines,” written for the most part by Kolodny and his outfit, PROP, were unscientific, inhumane, exclusively responsible for hundreds of suicides and provided the Federal excuse that states needed to throw pain patients off their single-payer plan.
These same “guidelines” had previously been rejected by the scientific committees at FDA as incompatible with the principles of medicine. Naturally, Charlie Baker and Maura Healey had found Kolodny instantly appealing.
And in a less agile version of the AIDS activism of the mid-80s, pain patients testified at government hearings in concerted numbers, some from their stretchers, and ensured that they were finally recognized as human beings who deserved to live and get their ailments treated.
So how did the CDC announce its long-deserved mea culpa? It issued a “clarification” and declared that tapering all patients off pain medicine quickly was harmful and that chronic pain patients on stable doses need not be tapered off at all.
CDC then bemoaned that others had “misapplied” its “guidelines” when they had been just guidelines and not rules. This was rich given that CDC knew that everyone would apply them as federal rules, and were promoted as such.
Charlie Baker certainly did so immediately and refused to pay for pain patients on Medicaid (MassHealth) who had been stable and productive for years.
What was even worse was the open intimidation of patients who tried to pay cash for their pain medicine when Medicaid refused to pay for their care. These patients were labelled as criminals by pharmacy chains and flagged as addicts in the government’s prescriptions database, to ensure they would be refused care by other doctors, just like progressive China’s Social Credit Score. So they couldn’t get insurance coverage, couldn’t pay cash, and couldn’t switch doctors.
And Charlie Baker says he loves America.
Thankfully we now have CDC’s “clarification” and already lawsuits have begun against so-called physicians who harmed their pain patients and abandoned them. Class action law firms too are looking closely at how to hold responsible those who consciously blocked access to well-known medicines that have been in use for thousands of years.
VP readers may recall my friend Bo, a patriotic veteran and grandfather, who hanged himself because Brockton Hospital’s Indian pain doctor valued complying with political directives above upholding the principles of medicine, and caused him severe harm. Such doctors do not deserve to be licensed to practice medicine and must not be allowed near patients ever again.
Bharani Padmanabhan MD PhD is a neurologist who specialized in multiple sclerosis in the Boston area until July 2017 when the medical board stole his license for reporting fake MRI reports and fraud to the federal government. firstname.lastname@example.org ◊