Pain medicine versus pain management: ethical dilemmas created by contemporary medicine and business.

Research paper by John D JD Loeser, Alex A Cahana

Indexed on: 07 Mar '13Published on: 07 Mar '13Published in: The Clinical journal of pain


The world of health care and the world of business have fundamentally different ethical standards. In the past decades, business principles have progressively invaded medical territories, leading to often unanticipated consequences for both patients and providers. Multidisciplinary pain management has been shown to be more effective than all other forms of health care for chronic pain patients; yet, fewer and fewer multidisciplinary pain management facilities are available in the United States. The amazing increase in interventional procedures and opioid prescriptions has not led to a lessening of the burden of chronic pain patients. Ethical dilemmas abound in the treatment of chronic pain patients: many are not even thought about by providers, administrators, insurance companies, or patients. We call for increased pain educational experiences for all types of health care providers and the separation of business concepts from pain-related health care.