A press release issued in connection with a June, 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine. begins with this figure from the report: “Every year, approximately 100 million adult Americans experience chronic pain.”
Institute of Medicine reports are generally considered to be among the most reliable and accurate assessments of issues in medicine, health care, and medical research. So when an institute report says 100 million adult Americans experience chronic pain, that figure should be beyond question.
And it seems nobody did question it; it’s been accepted everywhere.
Except by John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and MedPage Today. “That number — the equivalent of more than 40% of the U.S. adult population — is exaggerated and misleading, according to pain experts familiar with how it was derived,” Fauber writes today in a story running in both publications.
The report was added to the Affordable Care Act by “lawmakers who have received hundreds of thousands of dollars from drug manufacturers. Companies that make pain treatment lobbied for the bill. The measure also was backed by pain organizations that get opioid industry funding and, in turn, had several of their members serve on the panel,” he writes.
And the legislation did not ask for an impartial assessment of chronic pain. Instead, it stacked the deck, requiring the federal government “to enter into an agreement with the Institute of Medicine ‘to increase the recognition of pain as a significant public health problem in the United States.'”
But the reasons to doubt the report don’t stop there. Fauber reports that Pfizer, which makes several pain treatments, gave $3 million to Stanford to fund medical education 10 months before work on the report began. The panel that produced the report was chaired by the dean of medicine at Stanford.
That wasn’t the only payment made by pharmaceutical companies in connection with the report. See his story for more–along with the usual denials that industry money influenced anyone’s conclusions.