June 1, 2017

Canadians are facing an unprecedented public health crisis: too many with chronic pain silently suffer from under-treatment, while others battle prescription drug abuse, misuse and addiction.  Chronic pain affects 1 in 5 of us along with our families and caregivers.

Purdue Pharma (Canada) supports a research-driven approach to managing pain that may or may not include available prescription products, in combination with other effective treatments. At the same time, prescription opioid medicines remain a safe and effective treatment for patients who are appropriately selected and monitored. However, these medicines do have risks and, tragically, Canadians have seen the varied consequences of addiction and prescription drug misuse, abuse and diversion.

Unfortunately, measures taken to address opioid misuse risk creating problems for appropriate patients who would benefit from valuable medicines but could be denied them in the name of control.

Our organization is taking action. We fund third-party accredited education for health care professionals, support law enforcement and first responders, provide funding to organizations like Drug Free Kids Canada (for whom we are a proud founding sponsor), deploy our field team to raise HCP awareness of current evidence-based clinical practice guidelines & standards, and invest in developing abuse-deterrent technologies.

Evidence shows that the adoption of products with features designed to deter abuse, misuse and diversion across all prescription opioids, as is happening in the U.S., would be a major step forward.

Beyond this, a broad multi-faceted strategy for harm reduction – monitoring prescription drug use, better education for physicians, stepped up law enforcement efforts and increased awareness of clinical practice guidelines and standards – would lead to a healthier population.

The more quickly that occurs, the sooner we will see tangible benefits to public health.