Rogers' Pain Care Legislation in NIH Reform Bill

Date: Sept. 20, 2006

Rogers' Pain Care Legislation In NIH Reform Bill

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, MI-08, said the House Energy and Commerce Committee work this week holds great promise for the more than 50 million Americans suffering with chronic pain.

As the committee works on legislation to modernize and reform the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it will include for the first time ever a focus on pain and palliative care.

"Never in the history of the NIH has pain care received the attention that this new measure gives it," said Rogers, who has introduced legislation calling for the national health agency to engage in efforts to deal with the major public health problem.

"With more than 50 million Americans partially or totally disabled by pain, our nation faces a growing health crisis that threatens both our way of life and our economy."

Rogers said estimates put the cost of lost productivity due to pain at more than $78 billion annually.

"Pain is linked to such diseases as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and many others," Rogers said. "With back pain alone affecting more than 70 percent of all Americans at some time in their lives, the cost for their medical services runs up over $26 billion every year.

"Worse, pain keeps sufferers away from family, work, and the community. The NIH needs to engage on this crucial health care issue and bring together the research and education we need to build access to pain care across the nation."

The NIH Reform Act of 2006 would include a requirement for the NIH to provide a report summarizing its research activities organized by these categories: cancer; neurosciences; life stages, human development and rehabilitation; organ systems and autoimmune diseases; genomics; molecular biology and basic science; technology development; chronic diseases, including pain and palliative care; and infectious diseases and bioterrorism.

With respect to research activities, the NIH Director must identify the actual dollar amounts obligated for pain and palliative care and include plans for research on pain and palliative care, including statements of objectives regarding the research, the means for achieving the objectives, and a date by which the objectives are expected to be achieved. The committee reviewed the legislation in a hearing Tuesday, and is expected to vote today to send it to the full House for consideration.

"For pain sufferers across the nation, this is a huge step in the right direction," Rogers said.