Federal pain panel rife with links to pharma companies

By MATTHEW PERRONE

FILE – This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo, shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in… Read more

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal panel that has recently criticized efforts to cut back on painkiller prescriptions is studded with members who have financial ties to drug companies.

Nearly a third of members on the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee have financial connections to makers of opioid drugs like OxyContin.

The government advisory panel consists of federal scientists, outside academics and patient representatives. Of the 18 committee members at a recent meeting to discuss the government’s handling of pain issues, at least five had drug-industry connections.

One, a pain specialist from Duke University, has received thousands of dollars in payments from drugmakers, including OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceuticals, which sells generic painkillers. Another, a patient advocate, holds a nonprofit position created by a $1.5 million donation by Purdue.

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