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AMA to Seattle Times: Letter writer discussed systemic problems

Claims about AMA were incorrect

Dec. 17, 2011 (published)

Seattle Times
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

The recent letter from Art James is absolutely wrong about the American Medical Association. The AMA is fully committed to educating physicians about appropriate pain management. ["Pharmaceutical companies and other scoundrels part of the abuse," Northwest Voices online," Dec. 14.]

Physicians are licensed and credentialed by state boards of medicine. The AMA does not legitimize the authority of individual physicians. We support a balanced approach to pain management to ensure that individuals suffering from pain receive the care they need while minimizing actions that lead to drug diversion.

To combat the public-health problem of prescription-drug abuse, the AMA has been a leader in offering continuing education and promoting physician training on the proper use of controlled substances. We strongly support adequate funding for state prescription monitoring programs that physicians and other prescribers use at the point of care to combat diversion, while ensuring individuals with legitimate pain-management needs are treated. We advocate for the proper storage and disposal of prescription drugs and support enforcement actions against unethical prescribers.

— Peter W. Carmel, MD
AMA president