In reviewing the agenda of the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRCC), I find it to be just another one of those bureaucrat-run wastes of time. Instead of putting the direly-needed funds into the hands of the REAL pain researchers, it is now going to be funneled into the IPRCC members’ pockets. The Steering Committee alone is listed as having: Two co-chairs, patient advocates, an ethics expert, academic pain researchers, and non-pain scientists, as well as the not-numbered “broad and balanced range of ‘experts’ from across the community,” said not to be furthering any agendas of their own…and “primarily external members (non-IPRCC and non-federal).” I see this as similar to the commercial where, comically, the security officer is in fact, a “security monitor,” who informs the customers that, yes, there is a problem. NOT that he’s doing anything about it—he’s just the monitor. Committees full of people who do not have a direct interest in the problem at hand tend not to accomplish much.
My question is the same as in the neurodiverse arena: “Where are the actual patients/clients?” Where are the Pain Sufferers, the ones who will ultimately either benefit or suffer more from the outcome of this Committee? Is anyone hearing OUR voices? There are SO MANY people out there who are the chronic pain sufferers, in need of more and/or better treatments, who can tell their stories. There are SO MANY lives affected by the chronic pain that the patients endure daily: the families, the employers, the community-at-large. Who will listen to us??
While I do think that it is necessary for someone to take a fresh look at the stale subject of pain research, I do not believe that a Committee will do much except perhaps push the papers around to pass the buck. What we really need is more funding designated for pain research: the nature of pain itself and new treatments, to start. And we desperately need for chronic pain patients to write the letters to Congress, the ones who vote on the funding distribution. We don’t need a new war, we need to fight the war on pain that is ever-evident in some peoples’ lives!