Florida Pain Clinics Society Condemns Sun-Sentinel Misuse of Oxycodone Statistic

Reporter used statistic out of context and without full disclosure to create sensational headline.

Mar 08, 2011, 01:46 ET from Florida Society of Pain Management Providers

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Florida Society of Pain Management Providers (www.Flspmp.org) is appalled at the Sun-Sentinels intentional misuse of DEA ARCOS reports data which was released in a manner to intentionally mislead.

The fact is that Bob LaMendola the Sun-Sentential reporter who released the misleading story contacted Paul Sloan; president of the FLSPMP this afternoon (prior to stories publication) and asked him to interpret the data in the reports as Mr. LaMendola was unsure of the DEA's reporting format. Mr. LaMendola then forwarded the DEA reports to Mr. Sloan by e-mail.

Below is the information that Mr. Sloan extrapolated from the DEA ARCOS reports on the use of oxycodone in the year 2009 and then immediately e-mailed back and followed up with a phone conversation.

2009 Oxycodone per 100k using 2009 U.S. census statistics

#1  Florida

50,956 grams per 100k

18,537,000 population

The 50,956 grams of Oxycodone would translate into 9,400 prescriptions per 100,000 of states populations at FDA approved dosage for moderate to severe pain; at a 30mg dosage.

#2   Delaware

47,444 grams per 100k

885,122 population

The 47, 444 grams of Oxycodone would translate into 8,800 prescriptions per 100,000 of states population at FDA approved dosage for moderate to severe pain; at a 30mg dosage

Mr. LaMendola chose to ignore the above data and instead use a statistic that was skewed for the most obvious reasons:

The statistic chosen by Mr. LaMendola has a dozen variables which are not disclosed and the change of just one variable would change the reported result by the millions or 10’s of millions of oxycodone dosages / tablets. The statistic had no disclosure as to what constitute a dosage as oxycodone is available in a dozen different dosages. Is a 5mg dosage the same as a 30mg dosage or an 80mg Oxycontin dosage?  

2 examples to better understand:

#1)50,000 grams could produce the following dosages

10,000,000 dosages of 5mg Oxycodone tablets or

1,650,000 dosages of 30mg Oxycodone tablets

#2)10,000,0000 dosages could be:

10,000,000 in a 5mg tablet form or

10,000,000 in a 30mg tablet which is 6X more potent than the 5mg tablet.

Simply put Florida could see a large increase in (even a 100 million tabs) if physicians were prescribing lower strength tablets (10mg vs. 30mg for example) which would translate into more tablets (dosages) with no overall increase in grams of oxycodone dispensed.

In fact Florida only saw an increase of 5,000 grams between 2008 and 2009 per 100k population which is only a 10% increase in total oxycodone dispensed. A far cry from the 25% increase Mr. LaMendola claimed through deception.

The reason that 6 of the 7 DEA annual ARCOS reports on controlled substances are reported in grams is to keep the data in context for proper dissemination. It is unfortunate that Mr. LaMendola would choose the one report not in grams so as to create a sensational headline especially while knowing that he was intentionally misleading the public.

When the numbers are put into context a completely different story comes to light, the story that my quote used by Mr. LaMendola was speaking too not for the statistic he used it for.

"There's been a lot of exaggeration about pain clinics. I thought the numbers would be higher, given all the bad things everyone is saying about us, said Paul Sloan, president of the Florida Society of Pain Management Providers."

The truth seems to have become the greatest casualty in the war on pain clinics.

For more facts on oxycodone use in Florida go to http://www.flspmp.com/Press.html

Florida has a problem with the diversion and abuse of pain medication (just as we do with Sudafed) yet there must be a balanced approach in finding a solution so as not to affect the care of the legitimate pain patient and the ability of the principled, well trained physician to treat them.

That balanced approach; 4 weapons:

  1. Board of Medicine rules for standards of care in pain clinics including registration and inspections. (effective March 2011).
  2. Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) licensing for non-physician owned clinics which bars felons and includes additional controls and inspections. (effective 10/1/2010).
  3. The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (effective late spring 2011).
  4. Remove the cash exemption in AHCA HealthCare Clinic definition so there can be no loop holes (in 2011 legislation).

For More information on this issue:
Florida Society of Pain Management Providers / www.flspmp.org
Warren Pearson; Executive Director / 850-567-6164 / FLSPMPexecdir@gmail.com
Paul Sloan; President / 941-349-6583 / FLSPMPinfo@gmail.com

SOURCE Florida Society of Pain Management Providers