British Pain Society manoeuvres – why the desperation

Despite the grumblings about the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellent (NICE) in the UK, it seems to be seen as a ‘gold standard’ in other countries.  See this comment in Nature Taking the NICE path

The United States can learn from the UK body that rates the effectiveness of medical procedures….

and our letter to the British Medical Journal, BMJ 2009;339:b3345 [Free Full Text]

The recent ousting of Professor Paul Watson from the presidency of the British Pain Society by a selection of society members characterised by their allegiance to injections of therapeutic substances into the back for non-specific low back pain,[1] seems a desperate, ill targeted, and rather illogical response to what must be disappointing news.
One might expect an organised and coherent representation from that group of practitioners, and for it to be delivered through appropriate channels. One might hope for a belated enthusiasm for undertaking the studies to collect evidence in support of their allegiance. One might dream of impassioned vigour in establishing collaborative teams of passionate clinicians and pragmatic researchers to pursue the truth about injections of therapeutic substances into the back for non-specific low back pain. Instead, the chosen response seems to have been an organised and targeted personal attack on one member of the group from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), implemented by exploitation of the legally binding mechanisms of the British Pain Society.
By taking this response, the society as a whole has been dragged down. From that it should recover, but the damage to the instigators may be harder to overcome. As the world watches the impact of these desperate measures unfold (for the world is watching), we find ourselves asking why, for this selection of society members, are these such desperate times?

G Lorimer Moseley, senior research fellow
Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, Sydney, NSW 2031, Australia

References

1.    Rawlins M, Littlejohns P. NICE outraged by ousting of pain society president. BMJ 2009;339:b3028. (28 July.) [Free Full Text]