Mallinckrodt has a diverse portfolio of medicines used in the treatment of pain. Millions of patients face acute and chronic pain every day, and we are proud that our products can help ease this pain and allow many of these patients to keep their jobs, be a part of the lives of their families and friends, and remain productive members of society.
Today, we face two distinct pain-related healthcare issues:
According to a 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, more than 100 million adults in the United States live with chronic pain, costing the economy an estimated $560 to $635 billion annually.1 Pain affects more individuals than diabetes, coronary heart disease and cancer combined,2 with more than one-quarter of Americans over age 20 reporting a pain condition.3
Against this backdrop, it is clear that patients experiencing chronic or acute pain must have access to affordable, effective medications.
The report concludes that "the majority of people with pain use their prescription drugs properly, are not a source of misuse, and should not be stigmatized or denied access because of the misdeeds or carelessness of others."4
We should not lose sight of these facts. If we do, we will do a tremendous disservice to the millions of Americans who struggle with pain every day.
Provider and patient groups have also expressed concerns about the adequacy of pain management and treatment, particularly in the case of chronic conditions like neuropathic pain. Neuropathy results from nerve damage and is associated with a wide range of underlying diseases and conditions, including diabetes, trauma, autoimmune diseases (such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Guillain-Barré syndrome), tumors, kidney disease, liver disease, Lyme disease and HIV/AIDS. Concerned about adequate chronic pain management in the patients they represent, The Neuropathy Association has stated that "[t]oo often, patients are told there is nothing that can be done for them, [that] they will just have to live with it."5
Sadly, pain is associated with many other diseases and conditions. Sickle cell disease or sickle cell anemia is a genetic blood disorder characterized by red blood cells that assume an abnormal, rigid, sickle shape. Sickling decreases the cells' flexibility and involves various complications, including severe pain. As one sickle cell anemia patient said in a The New York Times article by Anne Underwood profiling the disease, "there's a lot of pain, unbelievable pain. It's like a jackhammer on your back, basically. I wish people in the medical field would take the disease more seriously."6
Fibromyalgia is another common disorder that results in chronic pain, affecting about seven to 10 million Americans, the disproportion of whom are women.7 The pain is a result of differences in how the individual processes pain, and proper diagnosis and treatment are uncommon.8 Organizations such as the National Fibromyalgia Association collect patient stories to help other patients, as well as the wider public, understand the pain that patients experience. As one patient writes, "I have fibromyalgia. It causes me to endure days of unrelenting muscle pain and fatigue. My symptoms occur in unpredictable periodic bouts of two to three days of generalized pain, which makes even lying down a slow torture."9
In addition to advocacy groups that focus on disease-specific causes of pain, other organizations, such as the American Chronic Pain Association, address pain conditions more generally and serve as advocates for all pain patients, acknowledging that "[f]or many people, living with pain is a way of life."10
We at Mallinckrodt will continue to work aggressively and support programs and technologies that help address opioid abuse while still providing prescribers with affordable, effective treatment options for their patients with chronic and acute pain.
For Mallinckrodt, dedication to providing solutions for patients with pain is paired with an equal commitment to working with law enforcement officials, healthcare providers, industry representatives and policymakers to address the complex issue of opioid abuse, misuse and diversion. As reports on this abuse and other analyses have repeatedly made clear, opioid abuse is a complicated problem with multiple components. Mallinckrodt agrees and believes there must be an integrated approach, because no one party or one solution can solve the opioid abuse problem. To be successful, state and federal legislators and regulators, patients and patient advocacy groups, physicians and provider groups, healthcare facilities, pharmacies, law enforcement, wholesalers, and manufacturers must all work together. Click here to learn about our policy positions and responsible use programs.