The following statement is attributed to:

Bobby Mukkamala, M.D.
Chair, AMA Board of Trustees
Chair, AMA Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force

“The American Medical Association (AMA) applauds the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for listening to its Board of Scientific Counselors, its Opioid Workgroup, the medical community and patients with pain by acknowledging the original guideline missed the mark. As the draft says, the CDC guideline should not be ‘a replacement for clinical judgment or individualized, person-centered care.’ We could not have said it better.

“The AMA will review the draft guideline and offer further comments. But for nearly six years, the AMA has urged (PDF) the CDC to reconsider its problematic guideline on opioid prescriptions that proved devastating for patients with pain. The CDC’s new draft guideline—if followed by policymakers, health insurance companies and pharmacy chains—provides a path to remove arbitrary prescribing thresholds, restore balance and support comprehensive, compassionate care. The previous guidance has harmed patients with chronic pain, cancer, sickle cell disease, and those in hospice. The restrictive policies also failed patients who are stable on long-term opioid therapy, and it has denied care to post-surgical patients and those with an opioid use disorder. The list of misapplications of the 2016 guideline is long, and its impact has been tremendous harm.

“In addition, the guideline did nothing to stem the drug overdose epidemic sweeping the country. In fact, the epidemic has become more lethal despite the CDC restrictive guideline due to illicitly manufactured fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine.

“States and insurers have turned the guideline into laws and unbending regulations, preventing physicians from treating patients as individuals with specific needs. The AMA outlined its concerns and recommendations (PDF)in 2016 and 2020 to the CDC. For the nearly 40 states that have codified the guidelines—as well as the insurers and pharmacy chains that have policies based on the guideline—the new draft guidance is good place to start with overhauling policies and laws.

Media Contact:

Jack Deutsch

ph: (202) 789-7442

[email protected]

About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.