Today's guest blog comes from Gudarz Davar, vice president of neurology development at Lilly.
For many, the start of each morning can begin with a single question, “How much pain will I be in today?” That’s because more than 100 million adults in the U.S. live with pain, more than the total affected by heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined. And for those who experience it, the pain can be much more than just physical. The consequences can permeate one’s entire life: the ability to function, capacity to work, and the opportunity to live with dignity. All can be compromised. Couple these challenges with the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic, and the country is in the midst of a pain crisis. We need a new path.
This week, a key step in the right direction will be considered when the 29 members of the Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force (Task Force) vote to finalize its Report on Pain Management Best Practices: Updates, Gaps, Inconsistencies, and Recommendations. The report identifies gaps or inconsistencies in best practices for acute and chronic pain management, and proposes updates and recommendations to those best practices. During the past few months, the Task Force has received more than 5,000 comments on its draft report from across the country, including from Lilly.
As a company committed to the research and development of medicines for different types of unresolved pain, including migraine and chronic pain, Lilly commends the Task Force’s focus toward a comprehensive pain management approach, including individualized, patient-centered, multi-disciplinary, and multi-modal treatments.
We believe to achieve improved outcomes, the healthcare system must support patient self-management of acute and chronic pain, and also advance understanding about the important relationship between improved pain management and improved function. We also believe that both innovation of, and access to, non-opioid pain medications are imperative when addressing the country’s pain crisis. The Task Force considers these critical areas - and more - in its report and Lilly encourages its continued progress and adoption.
Unresolved pain is a uniquely complex problem. It’s personal, which means it’s subjective. As a result, prevention, diagnosis and treatment challenges patients, doctors, scientists, healthcare systems, and governments alike. We appreciate the Task Force’s deliberate, inclusive approach to gathering not only the clinical and scientific perspectives of pain, but the real-world impact and challenges to those who live with it, treat it and search for innovative solutions to address it.