The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has prepared preliminary prescribing guidelines for primary care physicians. The recommendations, outlined in a webinar in September and subsequently leaked online, call on doctors to prescribe opioids only after other therapies have failed.
This is a crucial effort. Family doctors write the vast majority of prescriptions for painkillers. Yet there is considerable opposition to the guidelines — and much of the reproach comes from organizations that represent patients suffering from cancer and pain. And some of the groups receive backing from drug makers that sell these pills.