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Jan-20-2014 16:22printcomments

University of California, Davis Launches a Missile in the Opioid Prescribing Epidemic in the U.S. and Canada

UC Davis is responsible for launching the missile that has resulted in the Holocaust of death and addiction in supporting Dr. Fishman's push for opioids...

UC Davis

(MYRTLE BEACH, SC) - Tens of thousands of families in the U.S. and Canada are dealing with the loss of their loved ones to addiction and death by a missile launched from the University of California, Davis (UC Davis). How?

Scott M. Fishman

By UC Davis encouraging and financially supporting the head of their Division of Pain Medicine, Scott M. Fishman, MD to convince physicians there was a low risk to prescribing opioids for long-term, non-cancer pain -- they launched a missile. Last week I wrote about UC Davis sponsoring a pain conference in Hawaii for April 2014 and Fishman is the Conference Director. But it gets better - keep reading.

Dr. Fishman wrote a book in 2007 (while employed by UCD) entitled "Responsible Opioid Prescribing - A Physician's Guide" sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards. Dr. Fishman, the Federation of State Medical Boards and his physician guidebook are all under U.S. Senate investigation for alleged profiteering from the pharmaceutical industry in pushing painkillers for long-term use with little fear of addiction or death.

The guidebook was used as a "model" to encourage physicians in 50 states and Canada to safely prescribe dangerous opioids aka painkillers to their patients. Now we fast forward to 2014 and Dr. Fishman's employer, UC Davis is sponsoring an Hawaiian conference with Dr. Fishman as the Conference Director and a "veterinarian" as Co-Director and rather than Fishman pushing opioids, he and the UC Davis veterinarian are "pushing" yoga, nutrition and alternative treatments for pain.  Here is a link to the conference itinerary

In October 2011 Dr. Fishman had to write a letter of "incomplete financial disclosures" to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) when he embarrassed the UC Davis by being less than honest in his financial involvements to JAMA.  Here is a copy of the letter Fishman wrote JAMA when his memory was restored as to his financial disclosures:

    Scott M. Fishman, MD        
    JAMA. 2011;306(13):1445. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1398.
    Published online     

    To the Editor: I was requested to add 2 financial disclosures related to a letter to the editor1 published in JAMA. I previously disclosed that I authored the Federation of State Medical Board book Responsible Opioid Prescribing and received no royalties. Additionally, I am disclosing that I am president and chair of the board of directors of the American Pain Foundation (a nonprofit foundation that receives some of its support from manufacturers of prescription opioids) for which I received no compensation. However, one time per year I am reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses for coach airfare and cab fare for an annual board meeting. I have participated in numerous ACCME-certified continuing medical education activities yearly for which I received market rate honoraria. These programs were organized by academic health systems and/or medical professional organizations and some were funded by commercial sources related to opioid prescribing. I have not accepted any funds directly from any commercial sponsors. These disclosures were not originally reported because I did not believe that travel reimbursement and/or CME honoraria from academic health systems or health professional organizations for speaking at ACCME-certified programs required disclosure. I regret any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciate the opportunity to provide an explanation.

Interesting point is that the American Pain Foundation is also under U.S. Senate investigation - the same American Pain Foundation that Dr. Fishman had served as President and Chair on its Board of Directors while employed by the UC Davis Within days of the announcement of the Senate investigating the American Pain Foundation - they closed their doors. Fishman also acknowledged in his book -- "This book is sponsored by a consortium of organizations with a common interest in promoting safe and effective pain management including" (list follows with one being Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin who admitted they criminally marketed their drug as less likely to be addictive or abused to physicians}.

In January 2012, a Myrtle Beach, SC physician named Stephen G. Gelfand, MD, FACP wrote a letter to the CEO of UC Davis Health named Claire Pomeroy, MD over his concerns with the University, Dr. Fishman and the opioid epidemic. Below are excerpts of Dr. Gelfand's letter:

    Claire Pomeroy, MD
    CEO, UC Davis Health System and
    Dean, UC Davis School of Medicine

Dear Dr. Pomeroy:

I am an experienced rheumatologist with over 35 years of clinical experience who has been involved in the controversy over prescription opioids for more than ten years, including a debate in PainMedicine News I had with Scott Fishman, MD of your institution in 2006.

Physicians like Dr. Fishman who continue to encourage the nonselective prescribing of opioids by primary care providers are only fueling this epidemic and the public health crisis of addiction and death. His 'pharmacovigilance solution' in his recent book involves the impractical approach of monitoring opioids for abuse after they are already started [rather than limiting their use initially], which by then may be too late, especially since addiction is one of the most difficult diseases in medicine to treat.

Dr. Fishman's messages to primary care physicians and his relationships to the opioid drug industry with its influence over medical education and patient care are particularly worrisome, especially when we consider the skyrocketing volume of addiction, abuse, overdose and death, as well as the rising crime rate related to opiate analgesics, all of which have continued to rise dramatically over the last few years. His many industry-sponsored 'educational' activities have been done under the banner of UC Davis, which should be a major concern to your institution.

His book, which is now being promoted by the Federation of State Medical Boards, continues to overstate the benefits and understate the risks of opioid therapy for chronic noncancer pain, while encouraging primary care providers to maintain this practice by freely prescribing this powerful class of drugs [with brain effects similar to heroin], to almost anyone with pain.

In conclusion, it is hoped that you consider all this information and do what is needed for the benefit of your institution and medical care in this nation, and no longer support individuals who are responsible for the excessive overprescribing of opiate analgesics. This has become a major national public health crisis which must be curtailed for the future benefit of patient care, the lives of our citizens, and the welfare of our society.


Stephen G. Gelfand, MD, FACP
Myrtle Beach, SC

Dr. Gelfand advised he did not receive a reply to his letter from Dr. Pomeroy or anyone at UC Davis.

Now seven years later, UC Davis and Dr. Fishman are preparing to soak up the sun in Hawaii and discuss pain treatments while families are dealing with the loss of loved ones because of the downplaying of the dangers of opioids. I have to think these same families would rather be taking out a second mortgage on their homes to afford the lavish digs in Hawaii where the conference will be held, but rather they are taking second mortgages to pay for their loved ones drug rehabilitations and/or funerals.

Many could say the University of California, Davis is responsible for launching the missile that has resulted in the Holocaust of death and addiction in supporting Dr. Fishman's push for opioids destroying tens of thousands -- if not hundreds of thousands of lives -- in 50 states and Canada. UC Davis can bask in the sands of Hawaii with Fishman and a University veterinarian at their conference by now encouraging yoga, nutrition and alternatives for the treatment of pain, but the opioid bomb has already exploded -- and could be referred to as the "Scott M. Fishman, MD bomb."

This article is dedicated to the families and victims in an out of control opioid epidemic -- who will never have memories of a vacation in Hawaii with their loved ones. Marianne Skolek
Investigative Reporter for on drug epidemic


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