Barnes To Moderate at 2021 Rx Summit

Michael C. Barnes, JD, Principal Attorney at Sequel Legal and Chairman of the Center for U.S. Policy, will moderate three separate sessions at the 2021 Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit. Topics will include informed addiction policy, post-overdose interventions, and addressing social determinants of health in addiction treatment. The annual conference will take place online April 5-8.  Registration for 2021 Rx Summit is still open, and the full agenda is available online. 

The sessions Mr. Barnes will moderate are as follows: 

  • From Outreach to Outcomes: A Call for Consistent Measures Across Post-Overdose Outreach Interventions, Monday, April 5 
  • Building a Diverse and Informed Bench in Addiction Policy, Tuesday, April 6 
  • Addressing Social Determinants of Health in Addiction Treatment, Wednesday, April 7 

Barnes To Speak at 2021 Pharmacist Conference

Michael C. Barnes, JD, Principal Attorney at Sequel Legal and Chairman of the Center for U.S. Policywill speak at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA2021 Annual Meeting on Monday, March 15Mr. Barnes will co-present the session, entitled “Don’t ‘Just Say No’: Preventing Diversion and Addressing Medical Needs,” with Jake Nichols, PharmD, CEO of Professional Recovery Resources. Mr. Barnes will provide an overview of federal and state laws relevant to a pharmacist’s decision on whether to dispense a controlled medication, including the federal Controlled Substances Act, state mandatory consultation or refusal laws, and professional licensing board rules. The APhA Annual Meeting will take place online March 12-15.  

Barnes Quoted in PNN Article on DEA Impersonators

Pain News Network (PNN) recently quoted Michael Barnes, JD in an article about Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) impersonators. PNN Editor Pan Anson reported that the DEA has issued a warning to health care providers, pharmacists, and the public about criminals posing as DEA agents and attempting to extort money from them.

According to Barnes, “The scammers are well enough informed of the tactics DEA is employing against controlled-medication prescribers to be able to replicate them.”

In 2019, PNN’s Anson reported on a journal article Barnes authored, in which he call for an end to “indiscriminate raids” of health care providers by DEA and other federal agents.

Pain Care Legislation & Policy Update

On June 17, 2020, Michael Barnes, JD presented alongside Wade Delk, Government Affairs Director of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN), for the Providers Clinical Support System (PCSS) 2020 Pain Care Legislation and Public Policy Webinar. Mr. Barnes and Mr. Delk provided an update on state and federal legislative and regulatory actions and proposals that may affect people with pain or opioid use disorder.

Topics included:

– The Pain Management Best Practices Interagency Task Force recommendation implementation plan and the April 2020 request from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for comments on pain management options;

– The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General Toolkit for Calculating Opioid Levels and Identifying Patients at Risk of Misuse or Overdose, released in May 2020;

– CDC conclusions that, from 2017 to 2018, prescription opioid-involved death rates decreased by 13.5 percent, yet synthetic opioid-related death rates (involving illicit fentanyl, for example) increased by 10 percent;

– Federal cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) policy and enforcement activity; and

– Research into new pain medications.

The PCSS webinar also covered issues associated with the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), including the need for practitioner and public awareness around COVID-19 serology testing reliability; the mental health impacts of COVID-19 on health care providers, first responders, and the public at large; and reports of changes in illicit substance supplies, drug abuse trends, and treatment initiation rates.

Mr. Barnes and Mr. Delk discussed numerous ways the federal government has provided regulatory flexibility during the PHE, such as:

– Allowing the prescribing of opioid pain medications after evaluating patients via non-public-facing audiovisual chat app, such as FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, or Skype;

– Permitting the prescribing of buprenorphine for opioid use disorder after evaluating patients over the telephone; and

– Increasing controlled substance supply quotas in response to medication shortages.

Mr. Barnes explained that some health care leaders are urging the federal government to make these COVID-19 regulatory flexibility measures permanent and to further deregulate the treatment of opioid use disorder by eliminating the federal X-waiver requirement.

The hour-long webinar concluded with a 10-minute question-and-answer session.

Find the replay of the webinar on the PCSS website.

Healthy Women Publishes Final Report on Women-Focused Chronic Pain Summit Where Kulkarni Presented on Treatment Barriers

Healthy Women has published a final report on the organization’s July 2019 event, the Science, Innovation, and Technology Summit: Chronic Pain in Women— Focus on Treatment, Management and Barriers. Clinical professionals, researchers and policymakers, and representatives from federal agencies, industry, nonprofit organizations, and advocacy groups came together at the event to advance the dialogue on effective treatment and management of chronic pain in women. Shruti Kulkarni, JD presented at the summit and discussed how gender differences play a role in disease progression, effects of medications, and barriers to treatment. Specifically, she discussed the unique legal and societal barriers women face in obtaining medically necessary treatment, including lack of childcare and punitive attitudes towards pregnant and parenting women.