Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 33,000 people died in 2015 as a result of an opioid overdose. The report indicates that more than half of these casualties were due to prescription painkillers. The mortality rate is expected to keep climbing, as there are more than 2 million citizens hooked on these medications.
FDA finally says it is updating its policy on opioids, since 90 percent of the 200 million opioids prescribed in this country are for short-acting medications, like oxycodone and hydrocodone.
So, what exactly is being done?
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a plan that will force more painkiller producers to provide training for the health care community. Is it enough? It is better than nothing…
However, the National Coverage Determination (NCD) for Electrical Nerve Stimulators (160.7), Section B, paragraph 2 still reads: “The implantation of the stimulator is used only as a late resort (if not a last resort) for patients with chronic intractable pain”.
Over the last decade medical device technologies have advanced significantly, with smaller, safer, and lower cost devices. It is now possible to measure nerve signals for closed loop therapy modalities. Devices with IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) capabilities allow doctors to reach out to their patients anywhere, anytime for personalized care.
So, in addition to educating the heath care community, why are we not abolishing the archaic guidance NCD 160.7 as the highest priority and make medical devices as our first line of defense for pain management?