ASCO-Led Resolution on Opioid Therapy Adopted by the AMA House of Delegates

November 15, 2016

During the Interim Meeting of the American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates, held November 12-15, 2016, delegates overwhelmingly voted to adopt an ASCO-led resolution on access to pain treatment.

The alarming opioid epidemic across the U.S. has prompted lawmakers to take action to prevent and respond to opioid misuse and abuse. ASCO has been working to ensure efforts to address this issue do not impede cancer patient access to pain management. The resolution states that the AMA will advocate against arbitrary prescription limits that restrict access to medically necessary pain treatment for patients with cancer or a terminal diagnosis. The resolution also commits the AMA to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide leeway in the interpretation of new guidelines for prescribing opioids when treating patients with cancer-related pain. The final resolution has been incorporated into the AMA’s policy agenda for the year ahead.

AMA delegates also discussed a wide range of issues of concern to ASCO, including policies to prevent information blocking, support better collection of data relating to sexual orientation and gender identity, address the price of drugs, and end auto-enrollment in Medicare Advantage. The ASCO-led Cancer Caucus also met twice during the House of Delegates meeting to address ongoing issues relevant to the oncology community.

The AMA House of Delegates is made up of more than 500 voting delegates and includes representatives from all 50 states, federal service organizations, national medical societies, and specialty groups. ASCO’s participation in the House of Delegates provides a voice for the oncology community to help shape a broad and influential advocacy platform relevant to the wider medical community.

ASCO’s delegates at the AMA House of Delegates included: Edward P. Balaban, DO, FACP, FASCO, and Thomas A. Marsland, MD, FASCO. The society's alternate delegates also participated in this meeting: Ray Page, DO, PhD, FACOI, and Kristina L. Maletz Novick, MD. Steve Y. Lee, MD, participated as a Resident and Fellow Section delegate.

Stay tuned to ASCO in Action for updates on ASCO’s advocacy work to improve cancer research and care. 

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