Intended for healthcare professionals


WHO drops opioid guidelines after criticism of corporate influence

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 24 June 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l4374
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

The World Health Organization is discarding two opioid guidelines after a report by two members of the US Congress alleged that they were tainted by opioid manufacturers.

The bipartisan report accused the opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma of working, through its international arm Mundipharma, to expand the indications for chronic opioid use and minimise concerns about risks of addiction.1

Mundipharma paid physician opinion leaders and sponsored “astroturf” patients’ groups (set up by industry bodies) to demand easier access to opioids for pain treatment, the report alleged. Purdue Pharma faces extensive legal action in the US, where it has often been accused of leading a campaign to normalise opioid use.2

WHO responded by saying that …

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