Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 21, 2011
A University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health organization that has been criticized for its advocacy of controversial uses of narcotic painkillers says it has decided to stop taking money from the drug industry. UW made the announcement after an April 3 investigative report in the Journal Sentinel revealed that its UW Pain & Policy Studies Group had taken about $2.5 million over a decade from companies that make opioids. The money came while the group pushed for what critics say was a pharmaceutical industry agenda not supported by rigorous science: the liberalized use of narcotic painkillers for non-cancer chronic pain. While the expanded use of the medications boosted drug company sales, it also has been linked to a burgeoning epidemic of opioid painkiller abuse. Just this week, federal officials announced a plan to curtail the epidemic, including efforts to reduce misprescribing and misuse of the drugs.