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Dodds visits Capitol to advocate for increased pain research

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Jodi Dodds, MD, and neurologists from 49 states traveled to Washington DC this week to advocate for increased pain research and other improvements to the U.S. health system. As part of the American Academy of Neurology’s (AAN) annual “Neurology on the Hill” event, more than 200 neurologists met with more than 300 members of Congress to ask for increased funding for non-opioid pain research, greater price transparency for drugs, and streamlining of treatment authorizations in Medicare.

The STOP Pain Initiative Act, introduced in 2007, asks for $5 billion over five years for non-opioid pain research. Pain currently  600 billion in annual medical costs in the U.S., even as the number of deaths from prescription opioids has increased to 22,000 deaths a year. Dodds and other North Carolina neurologists met with Senator Richard Burr, to ask him to support this act, as well as bills in support of increased price transparency and streamlining medicate authorizations.

“If we can reduce opioid use by even 1% in the US, this would translate to an overall savings in healthcare cost and lost productivity of $13 billion annually,” said Dodds, who was one of six North Carolina neurologists to make the visit. “This is both the right thing to do morally as well as a fiscally responsible way of taking action on an epidemic,” she said.