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Suing the Pharmaceutical Companies for the Opioid Crisis Isn’t Enough

Chronic Pain Expert Cindy Perlin Says the Pharmaceutical Companies Aren’t the Only Culprits

Albany, NY – WEBWIRE

“We can stop feeding the opioid epidemic more victims by requiring insurance coverage of alternative pain treatments and by better educating physicians,” says Perlin.

Over 400,000 Americans have died in the opioid epidemic. Thousands of lawsuits are winding their way through the courts, accusing pharmaceutical companies of causing the epidemic by misleading doctors and the public about the risks of opioid addiction. Chronic pain expert Cindy Perlin, the creator of the Alternative Pain Treatment Directory and author of The Truth About Chronic Pain Treatments,” says there’s plenty more blame to go around and she’s proposing some other remedies.

Long before the pharmaceutical companies began aggressively marketing opioids with fraudulent claims about their safety, says Perlin, health insurance companies began making it more difficult and expensive for patients with pain to get non-pharmaceutical care. This included restricting the number of sessions of physical therapy, chiropractic and psychotherapy allowed while imposing higher copays and freezing provider fees. Insurance companies also ended coverage entirely for biofeedback and multidisciplinary pain treatment programs. As the opioid crisis escalated, insurance companies also ignored emerging research on the effectiveness of acupuncture, massage therapy, low-level laser therapy and many other treatments for chronic pain, according to Perlin.

Now that the damage done by wanton prescribing of opioids has become clear, health insurance companies are using it as an excuse to deny coverage for opioids, even for those most severely affected by chronic pain. At the same time, they are refusing to expand coverage for any other treatment option. Part of what is fueling the escalation of the opioid epidemic is desperate pain patients taking to the streets to medicate their opioid withdrawal and severe pain, Perlin says.

Perlin reports that “A part of the solution to the opioid epidemic no one is talking about is to require insurance coverage of nonpharmaceutical pain treatments.” Perlin has started a petition asking federal lawmakers to pass legislation requiring health insurers to adequately cover all treatments that have evidence of effectiveness in treating pain.

Perlin also faults medical schools for neglecting their responsibility to teach their students how to treat pain. A 2011 study found that North American medical schools, on average, spent less than 2 hours preparing future doctors to address patients’ pain. “Doctors then rely on information provided by pharmaceutical company representatives and pharmaceutical company-sponsored events about how to diagnose and treat pain,” says Perlin. Perlin’s petition also asks lawmakers to require more physician education about alternative therapies for pain.

“We can stop feeding the opioid epidemic more victims by requiring insurance coverage of alternative pain treatments and by better educating physicians,” says Perlin.


 Opioid Epidemic
 Chronic Pain
 Pain Relief Without Drugs
 Opioid Lawsuits
 Pain Management

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