November 20, 2014
Alliance for Balanced Pain Management Launch

Media Contacts: 
Caren Begun
Green Room Communications
Office: 856-424-2023
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Gloria Sherman
Green Room Communications

Alliance for Balanced Pain Management Forms to Support Appropriate Pain Management and Responsible Use, Storage and
Disposal of Pain Medications

Washington, D.C., November 20, 2014 – A diverse collective of health care advocacy groups, patient organizations, industry representatives and other stakeholders today announced they have established the Alliance for Balanced Pain Management (AfBPM) to support appropriate access to integrated pain management and responsible use of prescription pain medicines with an aim to reduce abuse. AfBPM will work collaboratively to educate, support and advocate on behalf of people affected by pain, both acute and chronic.

Chronic pain affects an estimated 100 million Americans and an untold number of people are affected by acute pain.1 Important attention is being given to the rise in abuse, misuse and diversion of prescription pain medications, yet many people still receive inadequate pain assessment and treatment.1 According to a recent report issued by the National Institutes of Health, 40 percent to 70 percent of people with chronic pain are not receiving proper medical treatment.2 Proper medical treatment can include physical therapy and rehabilitation, psychological counseling, social support, medication and other complementary approaches.

AfBPM is composed of 22 organizations including a steering committee made up of the Alliance for Patient Access, the American Cancer Society, the American Chronic Pain Association, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and The Gerontological Society of America.

AfBPM formally launched following a two-day Summit held November 18 and 19, 2014 that focused equally on how to help ensure people with pain receive the care they need while also countering abuse, misuse and diversion of prescription medicine.

Goals of the Alliance for Balanced Pain Management

  • Ensure people with or affected by pain have appropriate access to integrated, effective and safe care, such as physical therapy and rehabilitation, psychological counseling, social support, medication and other complementary approaches.
  • Reinforce the critical need to safely prescribe, dispense, take, store and dispose of prescription medications with an aim to reduce abuse, misuse and diversion.
  • Support organizations and individuals who share a common goal to reduce pain, improve care and advocate for responsible use of medicine.
  • Share tools and materials for its members to educate their constituents and the public about integrated pain management strategies and responsible use of medicine.

Defining Balanced Pain Management

AfBPM defines balanced pain management as a comprehensive approach to diagnosing, treating and controlling pain. It uses a multi-pronged and individualized treatment plan to coordinate safe and effective options that can address the physical, emotional, social and psychological aspects of pain. In a balanced approach to pain management, people with pain, along with family members and caregivers, learn to manage their pain in safe, effective, responsible and healthy ways to improve or maintain their overall well-being.

Components may include physical therapy and rehabilitation, medication, psychological counseling and social support. When medications are necessary, there must be full recognition of potential side effects and appropriate management of the medications. Equally important, there must also be a commitment to safely use, store and dispose of such medications, if prescribed, as part of the pain management plan.

Alliance for Balanced Pain Management Steering Committee Member Statements

  • Alliance for Patient Access (AfPA), Sri Nalamachu, MD, Chair, Pain Therapy Access Physicians Working Group:

“As a network of physicians dedicated to ensuring patient access to approved therapies and appropriate clinical care, we are committed to working with AfBPM members to increase awareness of the important issues in pain management. We support efforts to ensure that people who experience pain receive appropriate relief, including a broad spectrum of integrated treatment approaches to minimize their pain and, if pain medication is required, it is prescribed, used, stored and discarded appropriately and responsibly. No one should feel stigmatized for seeking legitimate pain relief.”

  • American Cancer Society, Rebecca Kirch, Director, Quality of Life and Survivorship:

“Pain often is a consequence of cancer and cancer treatments, and unrelieved pain can significantly impair a patient’s daily functioning, emotional well-being and overall quality of life, which may affect their ability to fight their cancer. We joined AfBPM to ensure that people who suffer from pain, in particular people with cancer who may have unique concerns and treatment-related issues, receive the comprehensive pain management and educational tools they need, and that pain medications, if prescribed, are taken and disposed of properly to reduce potential abuse.”

  • American Chronic Pain Association, Penney Cowan, Founder and Executive Director:

“People with chronic pain have highly individual needs. An integrated, multidisciplinary approach that takes into account the person’s own unique circumstances, needs and goals and encourages the person to take an active role in his or her recovery process, is essential for effective pain management and well-being. We support efforts to foster awareness of balanced pain management, including access and accountability, and look forward to working with our AfBPM partners on these important initiatives.”

  • Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, Mario Saltarelli, MD, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Science Officer:

“Mallinckrodt is dedicated to providing safe and effective medications for the treatment of people who experience pain and equally committed to fighting the problems of prescription pain medication misuse and abuse. We are proud to support a broad range of programs and efforts, including AfBPM, to drive access to appropriate, integrated pain management, the responsible use of medicines as prescribed and their safe disposal.”

  • Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, Marcia Lee Taylor, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs:

“The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is committed to preventing teens from abusing medicine.  With two thirds of teens who abuse pain relievers reporting that they get them from families and friends, we know the importance of reducing the ready availability of these pills in America’s medicine cabinets and getting adults to “Mind their Meds.”  As part of AfBPM, we will work to foster discussion around responsible use, as well as storage and disposal of pain medications. Our programs aim to keep medicines out of the hands of our youth to reduce medication abuse, while supporting access to pain medication for people who legitimately need it.”

  • The Gerontological Society of America, James Appleby, RPh, MPH, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer:

“The complexity of assessing and treating pain in the aging population requires a multidisciplinary approach. At times, drug therapy may be necessary to control pain among older adults, but is not without its risks, such as drug interactions and the potential for abuse. The Gerontological Society America is pleased to be part of AfBPM to bring greater attention to pain management among the aging population, ensure aging Americans have access to appropriate care and that they are aware of and take action to help mitigate potential abuse.”

Alliance for Balanced Pain Management Member Organizations

  • AIDS Institute 
  • Alliance for Patient Access
  • American Academy of Pain Management
  • American Cancer Society
  • American Chronic Pain Association
  • American Pain Society
  • American Society for Pain Management Nursing
  • Caregiver Action Network
  • Easter Seals
  • The Gerontological Society of America
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals
  • Men's Health Network
  • National Alliance for Caregiving
  • National Alliance for State Pharmacy Associations
  • National Minority Quality Forum
  • National Patient Safety Foundation
  • Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.
  • Partnership for Drug-Free Kids 
  • U.S. Pain Foundation
  • Verde Environmental Technologies, Inc.
  • Veterans Health Council & Vietnam Veterans of America

About the Alliance for Balanced Pain Management

The Alliance for Balanced Pain Management is committed to fostering public dialogue and action to ensure people with pain have access to appropriate, effective and safe integrated pain management and that medications, if prescribed, are used, stored and disposed of in a safe and responsible manner with an aim to reduce abuse, misuse and diversion. It is composed of diverse advocacy groups, patient organizations, industry and other stakeholders. Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals is the founding sponsor. Public or private organizations that are focused on addressing and advancing balanced pain management, reinforcing the need for safe and responsible prescribing, use, storage and disposal of prescription pain medications, and minimizing misuse of prescription pain medication may join the Alliance for Balanced Pain Management. Find out more about AfBPM and membership:

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1Institute of Medicine. Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2011.

2National Institutes of Health. Pathways to Prevention Workshop: The Role of Opioids in the Treatment of Chronic Pain. Draft Executive Summary. September 29-30, 2014.