Being a pain warrior means fighting for positive change. Right now, there are two major opportunities to comment on the state of pain care in America at the highest levels of the U.S. government: the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Opportunity #1: HHS Interagency Pain Management Best Practices Task Force – second meeting
Deadline: Sept. 17
How to take action: Submit comments here

The first, and most urgent, opportunity is through the HHS Interagency Pain Management Best Practices Task Force, which will hold its second meeting Sept. 25-26. While patients are often familiar with the FDA, the HHS actually oversees the FDA and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). So it’s incredibly important to provide them with your perspective.

This particular task force is charged with determining current best practices in pain management and resolving inconsistencies in federal agencies’ policies regarding pain. A panel of 28 experts was chosen by the U.S. Secretary of HHS, including U.S. Pain Foundation’s National Director of Policy and Advocacy Cindy Steinberg—the only patient representative who was selected.

“If your pain care has been affected by specific government policies such as the CDC guidelines, the FDA opioid policy, CMS coverage of nonpharmacological treatments and others, this is the perfect opportunity to write in and be heard,” says Steinberg.

To learn more about this committee, whose final report is due one year from now, read about its first meeting on May 30 and 31 or view the video recording by clicking here.

Opportunity #2: FDA Public Meeting on Patient-Focused Drug Development on Chronic Pain
Sept. 10
How to take action: Submit comments here

Although the FDA meeting, “Patient-Focused Drug Development on Chronic Pain,” took place in July, there is still time to submit comment online. The FDA is interested in hearing patient perspectives on the impacts of chronic pain, views on treatment approaches for chronic pain, and challenges or barriers to accessing treatments. The deadline is Sept. 10.

“Oftentimes, those of us living with pain feel helpless, like changing government policy in order to improve the plight of pain sufferers for relief is impossible for us to do,” says Steinberg, who testified at the July meeting. “This is the opportunity to speak out and be heard directly by key policymakers. Your voice matters.”

To stay up-to-date on more calls-to-action like this, sign up as a U.S. Pain advocate.