Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) called on HHS Secretary Alex Azar to review the members of the department’s pain management task force for financial relationships with drug companies.
In May, Azar announced the appointment of 28 members to the department’s newly established Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force, which held its first public meeting May 30. More recently, Wyden noted, the task force’s purview was expanded to include making recommendations on treatment of opioid use disorder that could shape Medicare and Medicaid coverage.
Of the task force members, Wyden noted, 15 are subject to reporting requirements under the CMS Open Payments system, a database that documents drug and devicemakers’ payments to physicians and teaching hospitals. Between 2013 and 2017, 10 of them reported payments that total nearly $180,000 from drug and medical device manufacturers, including companies that manufacture opioids.