CDC Opioid Guidelines Process Relies on Poor Evidence, Lacks Transparency

Statement from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) President Chris Hansen

October 2, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 2, 2015 – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network filed comments late yesterday on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Draft Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, 2016. The comments express concern about a lack of transparency in the process and the development of guidance that relies on poor evidence.

A statement from ACS CAN President Chris Hansen follows:

“ACS CAN joins the public health community in expressing concern about the growing misuse and abuse of pain medication and supports efforts to stem the harms associated with that abuse. It is critical that any approach to addressing the urgent public health problem of opioid abuse be balanced with the need to maintain access to necessary pain relief for individuals fighting pain from cancer and other diseases and conditions that disable thousands of Americans from working, living independently and enjoying a productive quality of life.

“We are deeply concerned that the process undertaken by the CDC to establish prescribing guidance for opioids for chronic pain has neither been based on solid evidence nor followed rigorous standards for guideline development. Without an evidence-based process there is no guarantee that the draft guidelines represent the optimal treatment strategy for pain patients.

“Guidelines sanctioned by the CDC are likely to be followed by doctors nationwide and despite the lack of evidence here there is the very real potential to erect barriers to pain medication that cancer patients and survivors need to cope with the symptoms of their disease and side effects of treatment.

“As stated in the letter, ‘We strongly recommend that CDC withdraw its draft guideline and instead focus on generating additional data to inform future guidelines as well as ongoing educational efforts on harm and abuse prevention.’”

For a full copy of the comment letter, visit:

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

For More Info, Contact:
Alissa Crispino or Steven Weiss
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Phone: 202-661-5772 or 202-661-5711
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

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