2017 in review … what killed us

Today is 09/22/2018.. who will not be here tomorrow

2016 in review … what killed us

6775 Americans will die EVERY DAY – from various reasons


140 will be SUCCESSFUL – including 20 veterans

270 will die from hospital acquired antibiotic resistant “bug” because staff won’t properly wash hands and/or proper infection control.

350 will die from their use/abuse of the drug ALCOHOL

1200 will die from their use/abuse of the drug NICOTINE

1400 will contract C-DIF from Hospital or Nursing home because staff doesn’t properly wash their hands are adhere to infection control  

80 WILL DIE mostly elderly.

850 will die from OBESITY

700 will die from medical errors

150 will die from Flu/Pneumonia

80 will die from Homicide

80 will die in car accidents




Here is the list from the end of 2016 if interested in comparing
United States of America
from Jan 1, 2017 – Dec 31, 2017 (11:36:39 AM)

Abortion*: 1090465
Heart Disease: 613479
Cancer: 590862
Tobacco: 349505
Obesity: 306566
Medical Errors: 251098
Stroke: 132915
Lower Respiratory Disease: 142741
Accident (unintentional): 135861
Hospital Associated Infection: 98860
Alcohol: 99859
Diabetes: 76380
Alzheimer’s Disease: 93409
Influenza/Pneumonia: 55149
Kidney Failure: 42702
Blood Infection: 33417
Suicide: 42713
Drunk Driving: 33760
Unintentional Poisoning: 31713
All Drug Abuse: 24970
Homicide: 16775
Prescription Drug Overdose: 14979
Murder by gun: 11477
Texting while Driving: 5981
Pedestrian: 4993
Drowning: 3909
Fire Related: 3495
Malnutrition: 2768
Domestic Violence: 1458
Smoking in Bed: 779
Falling out of Bed: 598
Killed by Falling Tree: 149
Lawnmower: 68
Spontaneous Combustion: 0

Totals of all categories are based upon past trends documented below.



I am being completely weaned off my meds, & suspect I will kill myself with the amount of pain I am in, & will be by the time this is over (the wean that is). Already can’t function.

My husband committed suicide after being abandoned by his pain dr.

Please pray for me as I am on the brink of suicide! I don’t want to die but can’t handle the pain anymore! The doctor that I am currently seeing will not give me enough pills to last all month every month… I have to wait until Oct to get in with a pain management doctor whom I already know by others that I know sees this doctor that he will help me, need prayer to hold on until oct… I keep thinking of my family who needs me hear.

“We just lost another intractable member of our support group two nights ago. She committed suicide because her medications were taken away for interstitial cystitis (a horribly painful bladder condition) and pudendal neuralgia, both of which she had battled for years

D D., journalist and prescribed fentanyl patient for a dozen years joined me on air last weekend with her husband and spoke of her suicide plan should the only relief from constant agony be heavily reduced or taken away.

I was told last Friday that my Dr. will be tapering my meds again . When I told him I didn’t think my body could take another lowering he stated ” it wasn’t my
License on the line”, I stated ” no , but it’s my life on the line”!!!!! I can not continue to live this way . I can not continue to suffer in agony when my medications and dose where working just fine before and I was a productive member of society . I can no longer take this. I have a plan in place to end my life myself When I am forced to reduce my Medications again . I just can’t do it anymore .

On Friday at around 9 p.m. U.S. Navy veteran Kevin Keller parked his red pickup truck in the parking lot at the Wytheville Rite-Aid, walked across the grass and stood in front of the U.S. Veterans Community Based Outpatient Clinic next door.

Sick and tired of being in pain, he pulled out a gun, shot a hole in the office door, aimed the gun barrel at his head and ended his hurt once and for all.

As a longterm pain patient with a current unsupportive pain dr, I just thought I’d share the reality of the position I’m in right now…

I’m in very bad pain all the time for very legit and well documented reasons. My pain dr however never gives me enough meds to help me. He just keeps reducing them, which is causing me to be in even more pain and suffer so much more. My quality of life also continues to go downhill at the same time. I was just given a letter by him recently too about some study indicating an increase in deaths if you take opioids and benzos. It stated he’s no longer going to give pain meds to anyone who is taking a benzo. I take one, because I have to, for a seizure disorder, not because I want to. He told me to pick one or the other though, plus went ahead and reduced my pain meds some more. He doesn’t seem to care the least bit. I’ve looked hard and so far I can’t find another one to get in to see near me at this time, but I’m desperately still trying. Unfortunately, they’re few and far between here, in addition to the wait for an appointment being long. I’ve even called hospice for help. So far, they haven’t been of much help either, because I don’t have a dr who will say I have six months or less to live. I told them either choice my pain dr is giving me is very inhumane, so I’d rather just quit eating and drinking, to the point where I pass away from that, while I get some kind of comfort care from them. I don’t really want to though, although I do have a long list of some very bad health problems, including a high probability that I have cancer and it’s spread. Am I suicidal? No. Will I be if my pain and seizure meds are taken away. Highly likely. I never ever saw this coming either. I don’t have a clue what to do and the clock is ticking, but I’m still fighting for an answer. So far, I can’t find not even one dr to help me though. Not one. I know my life depends on it, but at what point will these drs let my suffering become so inhumane that I just can’t take it anymore. I just don’t know right now. It’s a very scary place to be in for sure. That I do know.

The patient was being denied the medicine that had been alleviating his pain and committed suicide because, “he couldn’t live with the pain anymore. He could not see a future. He had no hope. He had no life.”

I am a chronic pain patient who has been on fairly high doses of opiates for about nine years now. My dose has been forcibly reduced since the cdc guidelines. I moved to Oregon from Alaska and can’t find a doctor to prescribe my medication. I pray I have the strength not to take my own life!

Zach Williams of Minnesota  committed suicide at age 35. He was a veteran of Iraq and had experienced back pain and a brain injury from his time in service. He had treated his pain with narcotics until the VA began reducing prescriptions.

Ryan Trunzo committed suicide at the age of 26. He was an army veteran of Iraq. He had experienced fractures in his back for which he tried to get effective painkillers, but failed due to VA policy. His mother stated “I feel like the VA took my son’s life.”

Kevin Keller, a Navy veteran, committed suicide at age 52. He shot v after breaking into the house of his friend, Marty Austin, to take his gun. Austin found a letter left by Keller saying “Marty sorry I broke into your house and took your gun to end the pain!” Keller had experienced a stroke 11 years earlier, and he had worsening pain in the last two years of his life because VA doctors would not give him pain medicine. On the subject of pain medication, Austin said that Keller “was not addicted. He needed it.”

Bob Mason, aged 67, of Montana committed suicide after not having access to drugs to treat his chronic pain for just one week. One doctor who had treated Mason was Mark Ibsen, who shut down his office after the Montana Board of Medical Examiners investigated him for excessive prescription of opioids. According to Mason’s daughter, Mason “didn’t like the drugs, but there were no other options.”

Donald Alan Beyer, living in Idaho, had experienced back pain for years. He suffered from  degenerative disc disease, as well as a job-related injury resulting in a broken back. After his doctor retired, Beyer struggled without pain medicine for months. He shot himself on his 47th birthday. His son, Garrett, said “I guess he felt suicide was his only chance for relief.”

Denny Peck of Washington state was 58 when he ended his life. In 1990, he experienced a severe injury to his vertebrae during a fishing accident. His mother, Lorraine Peck, said “[h]e has been in severe pain ever since,” and his daughter, Amanda Peck, “said she didn’t remember a time when her dad didn’t hurt.” During the last few years of his life, Peck had received opiates for his pain from a Seattle Pain Center, until these clinics closed. After suffering and being unable to find doctors who would help with his pain, Peck called 911. Two days later, Peck was found dead in his home with bullet wounds in his head. A note found near Peck read: “Can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t do anything. And all the whitecoats don’t care at all.”

Doug Hale of Vermont killed himself at the age of 53. He had experienced pain from interstitial cystitis, and decided to end his life six weeks after his doctor suddenly cut off his opiate painkillers. He left a note reading “Can’t take the chronic pain anymore” before he shot himself in the head. His doctor said he “was no longer willing to risk my license by writing you another script for opioids”  (see attachment A for details of the problem as relyed by his wife Tammi who is now 10 months without a husband as a direct result of the CDC guidelines to prevent deaths)Bruce Graham committed suicide after living with severe pain for two years. At age 62, Graham fell from a ladder, suffering several severe injuries. He had surgery and fell into a coma. After surgery, he suffered from painful adhesions which could not be removed. He relied on opioid painkillers to tolerate his pain, but doctors eventually stopped prescribing the medicine he needed. Two years after his fall, Graham shot himself in the heart to end the pain.

Travis Patterson, a young combat veteran, died two days after a suicide attempt at the age of 26. After the attempt to take his own life, Patterson was brought to the VA emergency room. Doctors offered therapy as a solution, but did not offer any relief for his pain. Patterson died two days after his attempted suicide.

54-year-old Bryan Spece of Montana  killed himself about two weeks after he experienced a major reduction in his pain medication. The CDC recommends a slow reduction in pain medicine, such as a 10% decrease per week. Based on information from Spece’s relative, Spece’s dose could have been reduced by around 70% in the weeks before he died.

In Oregon, Sonja Mae Jonsson ended her life when her doctor stopped giving her pain medicine as a result of the CDC guidelines.

United States veterans have been committing suicide after being unable to receive medicine for pain. These veterans include Peter Kaisen,Daniel Somers, Kevin Keller, Ryan Trunzo, Zach Williams, and Travis Patterson

A 40-year-old woman with fibromyalgia, lupus, and back issues appeared to have committed suicide after not being prescribed enough pain medicine. She had talked about her suicidal thoughts with her friends several times before, saying “there is no quality of life in pain.” She had no husband or children to care for, so she ended her life.

Sherri Little was 53 when she committed suicide. She suffered pain from occipital neuralgia, IBS, and fibromyalgia. A friend described Little as having a “shining soul of activism” as she spent time advocating for other chronic pain sufferers. However, Little had other struggles in her life, such as her feeling that her pain kept her from forming meaningful relationships. In her final days, Little was unable to keep down solid food, and she tried to get medical help from a hospital. When she was unable to receive relief, Little ended her life.

Former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle of North Carolina shot himself at age 71. He suffered from long-term pain under his left breast. Although he went through several medical tests to determine the cause of his pain, the results could not provide relief. After Trickle’s suicide, his brother stated that Dick “must have just decided the pain was too high, because he would have never done it for any other reason.”

39-year-old Julia Kelly committed suicide after suffering ongoing pain resulting from two car accidents. Kelly’s pain caused her to quit her job and move in with her parents, unable to start a family of her own. Her family is certain that the physical and emotional effects of her pain are what drove her to end her life. Kelly had founded a charity to help other chronic pain sufferers, an organization now run by her father in order to help others avoid Julia’s fate.

Sarah Kershaw ended her life at age 49. She was a New York Times Reporter who suffered from occipital neuralgia.

Lynn Gates Jackson, speaking for her friend E.C. who committed suicide after her long term opiates were suddenly reduced by 50% against her will, for no reason.  Lynn reports she felt like the doctors were not treating her like a human being (Ed:  a common complaint) and she made the conscious decision to end her life.

E.C. committed suicide quietly one day in Visalia California.  She was 40.  Her friend reported her death.  “She did not leave a note but I know what she did”.  The doctor would only write a prescription for 10 vicodin and she was in so much pain she could not get to the clinic every few days.   We had talked many times about quitting life. Then she left.  She just left.

Jessica, a patient with RSD/CRPS committed suicide when the pain from her disease became too much for her to bear. A friend asserted that Jessica’s death was not the result of an overdose, and that “living with RSD isn’t living.”



















Aliff, Charles

Beyer, Donald Alan

Brunner, Robert “Bruin”

Graham, Bruce

Hale, Doug

Hartsgrove, Daniel P

Ingram III, Charles Richard

Kaisen, Peter

Keller, Kevin

Kershaw, Sarah

Kimberly, Allison

Little, Sherri

Mason, Bob

Miles, Richard

Murphy, Thomas

Paddock, Karon

Patterson, Travis “Patt”

Peck, Denny

Peterson, Michael Jay

Reid, Marsha

Somers, Daniel

Son, Randall Lee

Spece, Brian

Tombs, John

Trickle, Richard “Dick”

Trunzo, Ryan

Williams, Zack

Karon Shettler Paddock  committed suicide on August 7, 2013  http://www.kpaddock.org/


Jessica Simpson took her life July 2017

Mercedes McGuire took her life on Friday, August 4th. She leaves behind her 4 yr old son. She could no longer endure the physical & emotional pain from Trigeminal Neuralgia.


Another Veteran Suicide In Front Of VA Emergency Department

 Depression and Pain makes me want to kill self. Too much physical and emotional pain to continue on. I seek the bliss fullness of Death. Peace. Live together die alone.

 Dr. Mansureh Irvani  suspected overdose victim  http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/08/18/suspended-oral-surgeon-dies-suspected-overdose.html

Katherine Goddard’s Suicide note: Due to the pain we are both in and can’t get help, this is the only way we can see getting out of it. Goodbye to everybody,”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/florida-man-arrested-after-girlfriend-dies-during-alleged-suicide-pact/  

Steven Lichtenberg: the 32-year-old Dublin man shot himself   http://www.dispatch.com/news/20160904/chronic-pains-emotional-toll-can-lead-to-suicide  

Fred Sinclair  he was hurting very much and was, in effect, saying goodbye to the family.  http://www.pharmaciststeve.com/?p=21743

Robert Markel, 56 – June 2016 – Denied Pain Meds/Heroin OD  http://www.pennlive.com/opioid-crisis/2017/08/heroin_overdose_deaths.html

 Lisa June 2016  https://youtu.be/rBlrSyi_-rQ

Jay Lawrence  March 2017  https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2017/9/4/how-chronic-pain-killed-my-husband

Celisa Henning: killed herself and her twin daughters...http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Mom-in-Apparent-Joliet-Murder-Suicide-said-Body-Felt-Like-It-was-On-Fire-Grandma-Says-442353713.html?fb_action_ids=10213560297382698&fb_action_types=og.comments

Karen Boje-58  CPP-Deming, NM

Katherine Goddard, 52 –  June 30, 2017 – Palm Coast, FL -Suicide/Denied Opioids  http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/20170816/palm-coast-man-charged-with-assisting-self-murder

https://medium.com/@ThomasKlineMD/suicides-associated-with-non-consented-opioid-pain-medication-reductions-356b4ef7e02aPartial List of Suicides, as of 9–10-17

Suicides: Associated with non-consented Opioid Pain Medication Reductions

Lacy Stewart 59, http://healthylivings247.com/daughter-says-untreated-pain-led-to-mothers-suicide/#

Ryan Trunzo of Massachusetts committed suicide at the age of 26  http://www.startribune.com/obituaries/detail/18881/?fullname=trunzo,-ryan-j  

Mercedes McGuire of Indiana ended her life August 4th, 2017 after struggling with agony originally suppressed with opioid pain medicine but reappearing after her pain medicine was cut back in a fashion after the CDC regulations. She was in such discomfort she went to the ER because she could not stand the intractable pain by “learning to live with it” as suggested by CDC consultants. The ER gave her a small prescription. She went to the pharmacy where they refused to fill it “because she had a pain contract”. She went home and killed herself. She was a young mother with a 4 year old son, Bentley. Bentley, will never get over the loss of his mom.

Suicides: Associated with non-consented Opioid Pain Medication Reductions

“Goodbye” Scott Smith: Vet w/PTSD committed murder/suicide. Killed his wife then himself today 11/27/2017


Pamela Clute had been suffering from agonizing back problems and medical treatment had failed to relieve pain that shot down her legs While California’s assisted suicide law went into effect a couple months before Clute’s death, the law only applies to terminally ill patients who are prescribed life-ending drugs by a physician. Clute wasn’t terminally ill

Kellie Bernsen 12/10/2017 Colorado suicide

Scott Smith: Vet w/PTSD committed murder/suicide. Killed his wife then himself today 11/27/2017

  Michelle Bloem committed suicide due to uncontrolled pain

John Lester shot himself on Jan. 8, 2014.

 Anne Örtegren took her life on Jan. 5  

 Debra Bales, 52 – Civilian – January 10, 2018 – Petaluma, CA – Denied Pain Meds/Suicide

 Aliff, Charles – Could not locate info!
He may be able to help! Charles Aliff – https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009343944744…

Brunner, Robert – Could not locate info!

Cagle, Melvin – http://www.objectivezero.org/…/The-Veteran-Spring-Why-a…


Harold Hamilton – http://www.dispatch.com/…/chronic-pains-emotional-toll…

Hartgrove, Daniel – http://www.legacy.com/…/name/daniel-hartsgrove-obituary…

Ingram III, Charles – http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/…/article_b7a4a712…

Jarvis, Michael http://www.chicagotribune.com/…/ct-indiana-doctor…


Kevin Keller, 52 – US Navy – July 30, 2014 – Wytheville, VA

Kershaw, Sarah – https://mobile.nytimes.com/…/sarah-kershaw-former-times…

Kimberly, Allison http://feldmanmortuary.com/…/Allison…/obituary.html…

Lane, Keith – Timothy Shields
August 8, 2017 · Colon, MI I would like you too include Kieth Lane . US Army , Vietnam in country , combat wounded . He died recovering from ulcers surgery of a stroke and heart attack in Battle Creek VA medical center in Michigan .

Lichtenberg, Steven – http://www.dispatch.com/…/chronic-pains-emotional-toll…

Markel, Robert – http://www.pennlive.com/…/08/heroin_overdose_deaths.html

Miles, Richard – Could not locate info!

Murphy, Thomas – http://www.objectivezero.org/…/The-Veteran-Spring-Why-a…

Paddock, Karon http://www.kpaddock.com/

Denny Peck, 58 – Civilian – September 17,2016 – Seattle, Wa https://l.facebook.com/l.php…


Peterson, Michael – https://l.facebook.com/l.php…

Reid, Marsha – https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/…/daughter-blames…

Simpson, Jessica – https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1616190951785852&set=a.395920107146282.94047.100001848876646&type=3&hc_location=ufi

Daniel Somers, 30 – US Army – June 10, 2013 – Denied Pain Meds/Suicide http://gawker.com/i-am-sorry-that-it-has-come-to-this-a…

Son, Randall – http://www.wpsdlocal6.com/…/woman-says-marion-va…/…

Bryan Spece, 54 – USMC – May 3, 2017 – Great Falls, Montana – Denied Meds/Suicide https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/…/patient-suicide…

Tombs, John – http://www.objectivezero.org/…/The-Veteran-Spring-Why-a…

 Jennifer E. Adams age 41 of Helena  December 20, 1976April 25, 2018


Jay Lawrence  March 1, 2017  on the same bench in the Hendersonville, Tennessee, park where the Lawrences had recently renewed their wedding vows, the 58-year-old man gripped his wife’s hand and killed himself with a gun.

suicide due to pain video  https://youtu.be/CSkxF1DMQws

Eden Prairie Aug 2018 handwritten note, which stated she “could not endure any more pain and needed to escape it.” http://www.fox9.com/news/charges-eden-prairie-man-helped-wife-commit-suicide

Raymond Arlugo  August 29th 2018   https://hudsonvalleydoctorskilledmybrother.wordpress.com/2018/09/14/suicide-over-pain-telling-my-brothers-story-because-he-cant/amp/


I reserve the right of editorial censorship

It looks like the political “mud slinging” has already started – IMO – worse than the national election two years ago… I am taking a stand – in particular – against “slanderous name calling”  directed toward specific politicians, particular political parties and/or specific people.  I don’t mind political debate – based on FACTS… when the debate drifts off the road based on FACTOIDS, FAKE NEWS, opinions stated as FACTS.. is where I am going to draw the “line in the sand” and delete comments that go down that path.

While personally, I am not a big fan our our political/bureaucratic system.. IMO.. it is too self serving… Admittedly, politically I tend to lean to the POLITICAL RIGHT but that is because the Libertarian party is seemingly always kept in their place by our dominating “two party system”.

I have belonged to a national pharmacy association for 35 yrs… that promotes the saying “get into politics … or get out of pharmacy ..” If you don’t attempt to influence politicians… someone else will…. and IMO this saying applies to those in the chronic pain community and/or pts who are dealing with subjective diseases.  Legislatures, bureaucrats are doing things that are adversely effecting the quality of life of those pts.  As long as those being affected continue to lack unity and/or a large segment chooses to stand on the sidelines, whoever is successfully “bending the ear” of these politicians … they will continue to do so because they have  little/no concern about the consequences and/or collateral damage that they cause to those suffering and dealing with subjective diseases.

I am sure that the vast majority of my readers will understand and cooperate…those who try to challenge this policy…  It is THREE STRIKES and you are out/banned… and WORDPRESS gives me your IP ADDRESS attached to your comment(s)… Once banned, just posting under a different name – WILL NOT WORK !  Everyone needs to “play nice “

Image result for Play Nice in the Sand Box


This is from FLORIDA… part of the world’s best healthcare system ?

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I didn’t go to ER I went to walk in clinic so but I still think walk in clinics can write a prescription for pain medication if they wanted to. I didn’t ask for any either but they didn’t offer any.

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The CDC and their fabricated data ?

A little CDC.gov forced honesty from their new report released 8/31/18:

Opioid deaths:
14,487 out of a total of 325.7 million people in the US died in 2016 from LEGAL PRESCRIPTION opioids.
That’s .000004% of the population! Now why is there a hysteria over PRESCRIPTION opioids?

Good question!

Especially when alcohol related deaths are
88,000 of 325.7 million. That’s a much BIGGER number!!
Yet… No hysteria over alcohol

1.3 million people are injured with 35,000 that die in car wrecks per year. Just to give you a reference. A WAY BIGGER number. No hysteria over that. (edited.)

Hmmm. 🤔

Maybe it’s because this is how they reported opioid deaths to the media:

‘Drug overdose deaths in 2016 reached a NEW RECORD HIGH.’
‘Drug Overdose Mortality:
A RECORD NUMBER of drug overdose deaths occurred in 2016: 63,632,
A RECORD 19.8 PER 100,000 PERSON’S.’
(19.8/100,000 is still only .0001% but it looks BIGGER reported this way.)

Sounds like everybody is dying from opioids doesn’t it? Now why did they say 66,632 died when I said 14,487 up top? That’s a BIG difference!

Well…CDC combined LEGAL, law abiding citizen prescription opioid deaths, with ILLEGAL heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl deaths!
Why would anybody want to DO that?
It’s kind of misleading isn’t it?
Well…it makes a BIGGER NUMBER.

Where’s all the hysteria and ‘crisis’ for the 1,300,000/325,700,000 each year DYING of car wrecks!!? I can make that sound awful! And it is! But it’s still only .003% of the population and people have decided it’s worth the RISK:BENEFIT RATIO to drive. And the government lets them.

Because of the way the CDC reported opioid deaths, and others’ agendas, a wildfire of hysteria resulted, causing disabled by pain patients to lose their opioid medicine, their ability to function, their dignity as they are treated like drug addicts, and any quality of life. Imagine an Ice cream headache 24/7/365 covering different parts of your body. You can’t think with this type of ceaseless pain. You want to die.

This is something that is personal and each person has to decide the risks they take in life. Risks are everywhere, and people have to decide if something is worth the benefit. It’s called ‘informed consent’ when you know of the risk before you take it.

Shouldn’t people in agonizing pain be able to decide if the RISK:BENEFIT RATIO of .000004% is worth the benefit of being able to get out of bed and function? Work? And not want to die from tortuous pain?

Doesn’t make sense, single moms are facing homelessness as they can no longer work due to unbearable pain, MS, lupus, etc etc; also Vets who risked their lives for our country with painful injuries, now lie there wanting to die. Elderly people lie there sobbing with NO RELIEF, day after day, wishing they would die. Where’s the hysteria over that?

We have no voice. People/media listen to those in power. Not the multitudes suffering at their hands. Please share the TRUTH.

ALL the above information can be found here: Where things are in context. A LOT harder to get information here than in the hysteria promoting news. And they’re counting on that apparently.

Reference CDC.gov 2018 ANNUAL

emergency room she was denied any pain medication ..even during debridement

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For people who think that the refusal to treat pain is just for chronic pain patients and they don’t feel that they shouldn’t help fix this issue. she got severely burned on her arm and went to the emergency room she was denied any pain medication while she was there and was sent home with nothing and was also was not given anything for When they did the debridement. So if you think this problem won’t affect you think again

$100K per year of life gained: CVS’ move to let insurers cap drug prices sparks intense controversy

$100K per year of life gained: CVS’ move to let insurers cap drug prices sparks intense controversy


Amid an industry-wide debate on how to stem drug price increases, CVS launched a new program to allow self-funded insurers to deny coverage for certain treatments deemed too expensive—a move that is sparking intense industry debate, Vox reports.

Infographic: 5 ways to control the flow of drug expenditures

About the CVS program

Under the program, CVS allows self-funded insurers—such as large employers—to exclude coverage for prescription drugs if the list price is above $100,000 for every quality-adjusted year of life gained, according to the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s (ICER) quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) metric.

However, the new coverage denial policy would not apply to any drug FDA designates as a “breakthrough” therapy, Vox reports.

The program is intended to give insurers a tool to reduce drug spending, according to Vox. CVS in an August report said the program aims to “put pressure on manufacturers to reduce launch prices to a reasonable level.”

In a Health Affairs blog post published Monday, Troyen Brennan and Surya Singh of CVS wrote, “Until now, PBMs such as CVS Health have had no ability to impact the initial launch price of a drug, which is set solely by the manufacturer, seemingly without regard to the inherent value of the medication or what the payer or patient can afford.”

Industry criticizes proposal

However, CVS’ program is drawing criticism from industry stakeholders. Robert DuBois of the National Pharmaceutical Council in a dueling Health Affairs blog post published Monday criticized the program’s use of a single cost-effectiveness metric to assess the value of a medication. “To fully assess the value of a treatment, stakeholders must account for other considerations important to patients,” such as whether the drug is designed to treat a previously untreatable illness, DuBois wrote.

He also took aim at CVS’ $100,000 threshold, arguing that ICER’s value framework does not consist of a single metric for determining which treatments are cost-effective, but has a variable threshold (sometimes $100,000, other times $150,000). He argued that the single $100,000 threshold does not take into account the full economic value of a treatment, such as increased productivity or reductions in caregiver burdens.  

Dubois added that the program’s exclusion of specific drugs based on QALY fails to account for the varying ways patients react to medications. As a result, Dubois said a drug’s exclusion from coverage would not reflect the drug’s full value to all patients.

Which side is right?

Walid Gellad, an expert on prescription drug policy at the University of Pittsburgh, called the debate between CVS and industry a “good” one, because “there really isn’t a right answer.”

Gellad explained that rising drug list prices has left health system stakeholders with few options to restrain costs and that similar programs are likely to appear in the future. Already, Vox reports Veterans Affairs has begun using ICER’s quality assessments to decide whether to cover specific drugs. Gellad said, “Something like this is the inevitable future. Nothing else is talking about launch prices. Some version of this is where everybody is heading.”

However, Gellad said there are definitely flaws with CVS’ program, namely the use of a single metric to determine the value of a drug. “The idea that we base something solely on a cut point determined by one cost effectiveness analysis from ICER is a big step to take. It’s like a giant step forward when you don’t really know how to walk yet,” Gellad said (Scott, Vox, 9/17; CVS report, August 2018).

Five ways to control the flow of drug expenditures

Prescription drug expenditures are the fastest growing component of health care spending. And while reducing unwarranted prescribing variation is the single biggest improvement opportunity, there are several other near-term chances to reduce spending and grow revenues.

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Local chronic pain sufferers protest opioid restrictions at the capitol


On Tuesday morning, a group of people gathered in the Wisconsin capitol rotunda to tell their stories of chronic pain and protest guidelines the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put on opioids in an attempt to stop the addiction epidemic.

Dr. Mandira N Mehra – Reviews

3.3 Stars – out of a possible 5.

Dr Mehra is correct pain management is a give and take… they give LITTLE and TAKE A LOT !


AG Session: sizable number of physicians who were over prescribing opioid pain pills, which were not helping people get well

Utilizing the palliative care “loophole” in chronic pain management


The DOJ is successfully escalating angst among general practitioners, who are already reluctant to prescribe narcotics above guidelines, (that were established by the CDC), out of fear of being targeted as outliers by the DEA. In turn, many patients with intractable pain are forced to, “make due”, with what pain medication they are prescribed, and tension runs high between appointments as their doctors push for even further tapering.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in January that over the next 45 days, a “surge” of Drug Enforcement Administration agents and investigators will focus on pharmacies and prescribers who are dispensing unusual or disproportionate amounts of opioid drugs.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has arrested 28 people and revoked the registrations of over a hundred others in a nationwide crackdown that targeted prescribers and pharmacies that dispense “disproportionally large amounts” of opioid medication.

For 45 days in February and March, a special team of DEA investigators searched a database of 80 million prescriptions, looking for suspicious orders and possible drug thefts.

The so-called “surge” resulted in 28 arrests, 54 search warrants, and 283 administrative actions against doctors and pharmacists. The DEA registrations of 147 people were also revoked — meaning they can no longer prescribe, dispense or distribute controlled substances such as opioids.

The DEA said 4 medical doctors and 4 medical assistants were arrested, along with 20 people described as “non-registrant co-conspirators.” The arrests were reported by the agency’s offices in San Diego, Denver, Atlanta, Miami and Philadelphia.

In an interview with AARP, Sessions defended the use of data mining to uncover health care fraud.“Some of the more blatant problems were highlighted in our Medicare fraud take down recently where we had a

sizable number of physicians that were over prescribing opioid pain pills which were not helping people get well,

but instead were furthering an addiction being paid for by the federal taxpayers. This is a really bad thing,” Sessions said.“It’s a little bit like these shysters who use direct mail and other ways to defraud people. They will keep doing it until they’re stopped. In other words, if we don’t stop them, they will keep finding more victims and seducing them.”

As a growing trend of doctors across America voluntarily leave pain management, their patients are left without medical care. From there, the sick and disabled get bounced back to primary care. General practitioners, no longer in the business of treating pain, can only offer referrals but rarely communicate or follow up with their colleagues to facilitate a comparable continuity of care. These limitations have been further aggravated, through an effective surreptitious recruitment campaign organized by Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Co-Director of Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, christened PROP (Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing). Armed with government propaganda, Prop docs function as the CDC mouthpiece and have infiltrated teaching universities, medical schools, CME courses,and large HMOs. There they double down and intentionally disseminate biased misinformation, present flimsy evidence as a matter of fact that, more often than not, aggregates chronic pain and addiction. Is there any way around this patient-doctor dilemma?

In an interview with AARP, Sessions defended the use of data mining to uncover health care fraud. “Some of the more blatant problems were highlighted in our Medicare fraud takedown recently, where we had a sizable number of physicians who were overprescribing opioid pain pills, which were not helping people get well, but, instead, were furthering an addiction, [all] being paid for by the federal taxpayers. This is a really bad thing,” Sessions said. “It’s a little bit like these shysters who use direct mail and other ways to defraud people. They will keep doing it until they’re stopped. In other words, if we don’t stop them, they will keep finding more victims and [keep] seducing them.”
As a growing trend of doctors across America voluntarily leave pain management, their patients are left without medical care. 
From there, the sick and disabled get bounced back to primary care. General practitioners, no longer in the business of treating pain, can only offer referrals, but, they rarely communicate with, or follow up with, their colleagues to facilitate a comparable continuity of care. These limitations have been further aggravated through an effective, surreptitious

recruitment campaign organized by Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Co-Director of Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, christened PROP (Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing). Armed with government propaganda, Prop docs function as the CDC mouthpiece, and have infiltrated teaching universities, medical schools, CME courses, and large HMOs. There, they double down and intentionally disseminate biased misinformation, present flimsy evidence as a matter of fact that, more often than not, aggregates chronic pain and addiction. 

Is there any way around this patient-doctor dilemma?

The answer might be as simple as a physician order for palliative care — a treatment option already covered by CMS and most private insurance. You can have it at any age and any stage of an illness, but, early on in your illness is recommended.
Palliative care, (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv), is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age, and at any stage in a serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment¹

View story at Medium.com

Opioid bill takes aim at doctors as well as pharmaceutical companies

This week, the Senate passed a major bipartisan bill that addresses the opioid epidemic, one U.S. Senator Maria Catwell says will help in Washington state.

Just two years ago, 700 people in our state died of opioid overdoses, mostly in king, Snohomish and Pierce counties.

On Wednesday, sheriffs from each of those counties backed this new bill, saying the problem is so big, law enforcement can’t solve it alone.

“This notion that we are going to arrest out way out of this problem that a pair of handcuffs and a trip to jail that will somehow solve this epidemic is nonsense, “said Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary.

Opioid bill takes aim at doctors as well as pharmaceutical companies

There are four parts of the bill: prevention, expanded treatment coverage, funding for drug courts and holding drug manufacturers accountable.

If drug manufacturers are held accountable, Senator Cantwell said doctors must be held accountable too.

On Monday, she talked about the problem of doctors over-prescribing opioids and used the example of an Everett doctor who wrote thousands of opioid prescriptions over nine years.

KOMO News learned he’s now retired, but he has a paper trail with the Washington Medical Association, whose Deputy Director said the doctor was sanctioned last year for not meeting the standard of care when prescribing opioids to some chronic pain patients.

“We gotta stop it, otherwise we are going to keep increasing the opportunity for more and more people,” Cantwell said in Seattle at a news conference with local law enforcement, including Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Cantwell’s ‘more and more people’ refers to more opioids, more addictions and more deadly consequences.

The U.S. Senator not only points a finger at drug manufactures, but doctors too.

This is what she told lawmakers from the Senate Floor Monday, “In one example a physician from Washington wrote more than 10,000 prescriptions of opioids. This was 26 times higher than the average prescriber in Everett, Washington.”

We found that doctor, Dr. Donald Dillinger.

We wanted to ask him about those 10,000 opioid scripts, but no answer at his home. His Everett medical office closed and his voicemail said he retired.

The Attorney General’s office knows about him, too.

We discovered he’s was named in a lawsuit filed by the Washington Attorney General’s office in January for writing those 10,000 opioid prescriptions from 2007 to 2016.

Cantwell said spikes in drug distribution should be monitored and reported by drug manufacturers. She hopes proposed legislation that ups fines from $10,000 to $100,000 and in some cases up to a half a million dollars for violators will pass muster with other lawmakers.

“However, the drug manufacturer failed to report this suspicious activity,” said Cantwell.

Dr. Dillinger didn’t return our call, but we learned he was disciplined by the state in 2017 for ‘not meeting the standard of care for chronic pain patients’ said Micah Matthews, Deputy Director for the Washington Medical Association.

Public documents show the state restricted his license and put him on a compliance plan.

We learned today, the commission reopened its investigation after learning of the AG’s lawsuit.

“When the lawsuit was filed it became clear we didn’t have access to all the relevant records,” said Matthews.

The Commission is reviewing those additional records now.

“That’s disgusting to me honestly,” said Kelly an assistant occupational therapist, when she learned that Dr. Dillinger wrote thousands of prescriptions for opioids.

Kelly who is not connected to the case or the doctor said she encounters countless patients addicted and desperate for pain meds all the time.

“You see it all the time, they shop doctors and if they can’t get it from doctors they get it from the streets,” Kelly who didn’t want to reveal her last name.

Like the senator, she thinks the buck stops with manufactures and overprescribing doctors.

“They don’t need to prescribe so much meds because a patient will think they need to take all that,” said Kelly.

WMC’s Deputy Director said Dillinger disagreed with the charges and initial findings and took his case all the way to a formal hearing.

He said the commission determined the doctor violated the standard of care and assigned him two compliance officers.

It’s their job to make sure Practioners comply and are rehabilitated to good practice.

In October, Matthews said Dillinger informally surrendered his license to the WMC.

Matthews said since there was no mechanism in place to officially receive his medical license at the time, the state is currently negotiating the formal surrender of his license.

Matthews said reopening the investigation to look at records connected to the AG’s case may end up a moot point if they reach agreement on Dillinger’s license surrender.

The Commission recently adopted new comprehensive prescribing rules when it comes to opioids that would apply to acute, pre-operative and long term, but not chronic patients.

In those cases it limits the amount of opioids that can be dispensed at one time and requires monitoring and education requirements for providers.

Those new rules take effect in January of 2019.

Imagine this… the doctor wrote 10,000 prescriptions over 10 years.. that is NINETEEN Rx PER WEEK… or about FOUR RXS PER DAY… and the bureaucrats determined that he did not meet the standard of care for chronic pain patients

This TV station is really having to scrape the bottom of the barrel that the only quote that they could get from someone in health care that would tell them what they wanted to hear was:

“That’s disgusting to me honestly,” said Kelly an assistant occupational therapist, when she learned that Dr. Dillinger wrote thousands of prescriptions for opioids.

Kelly who is not connected to the case or the doctor said she encounters countless patients addicted and desperate for pain meds all the time.

“You see it all the time, they shop doctors and if they can’t get it from doctors they get it from the streets,” Kelly who didn’t want to reveal her last name.

spinal injections the only option for pts ?

Disabled Oregonians Suicide Rate Increasing! “Opioid Epidemic” is NOT AN EXCUSE TO ALLOW SUFFERING!

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