ASCO submitted comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help guide its newly established Opioid Policy Steering Committee (OPSC). In the comments, ASCO responded to several FDA-posed questions to inform OPSC’s work of effectively addressing the nation-wide opioid crisis.
Specifically, ASCO recommended that FDA partner with providers and specialty organizations to develop expert guidelines on prescribing opioids. The society’s comments noted the need for pain management to be tailored to specific patient circumstances for complex diseases such as cancer, where a number of factors can contribute to pain, and the duration of treatment varies substantially between patients. ASCO also suggested that clinical pathways may be a way to implement appropriate, consistent prescribing practices.
The comments also included several recommendations on prescriber pain management education. With the increasing specialization of medical practice, ASCO asserted that provider education on opioid prescribing should be tailored to the specific needs of the professionals and the patient populations they care for. Medical societies and organizations are best suited to provide this type of specialty-specific education for opioid prescription, according to the society.
ASCO strongly urged FDA to collaborate with stakeholders across the medical community to prevent duplication of training requirements. The society suggested that any mandatory education be integrated into existing requirements to prevent overlap with other state and federal requirements to avoid imposing an added burden on practitioners. The comments also emphasized the importance of making sure any mandatory education is evidence-based and includes patient outcomes.