NATICK, Mass., June 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE: BSX) today welcomed progress on a number of pieces of legislation that will help service veterans and the active armed forces better manage the challenges of chronic pain. The U.S. Senate has recently passed the Veterans Mental Health Improvements Act, which includes provisions of the Veterans Pain Care Act (S. 2160), originally introduced by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI). The bill calls for the establishment of a pain care initiative in the health care facilities of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) has introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In addition, last month the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which included passage of the Military Pain Care Act of 2008 (HR 5465). This pain care provision, originally introduced by Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA), would require the Department of Defense to implement a pain care initiative in all military health care facilities.
"These bills will advance the cause for all pain patients by focusing much needed attention on our active military and our veterans about the seriousness of chronic pain," said Scott M. Fishman, M.D., Professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine Chief, Division of Pain Medicine in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at the University of California, Davis. "As a pain physician, I applaud Congress for recognizing the gravity of this issue. Pain is a complex medical condition that can affect the physical and mental well being of millions of patients."
"We congratulate members of the House and Senate for these important steps in advancing public awareness and understanding of chronic pain management," said Michael Onuscheck, President of Boston Scientific's Neuromodulation Division. "The accredited pain physicians with whom we work have witnessed the devastating impact chronic pain can have on the people who serve our country. We are hopeful that should these bills become law, they will help expand and improve the quality of care for our active service personnel and our veterans in their battle against chronic pain."
An additional pain care bill, the National Pain Care Policy Act (HR 2994), introduced in the House by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), complements these efforts to address pain for our service members and veterans by calling for greater examination of pain management in the healthcare system as a whole. Rep. Capps' bill will help evaluate how acute and chronic pain are diagnosed, treated and managed in America, and help improve education, research and awareness of chronic pain to physicians and pain sufferers throughout the country.
"Boston Scientific will continue to work closely with Congressional leaders and others to promote this legislation," added Onuscheck. "We take our leadership responsibilities in this industry seriously and believe that improving the care for pain patients benefits all of us. Now that the House and Senate have moved to address the serious needs of our active military and veterans, we are hopeful that the National Pain Care Policy Act will be passed sometime this year."
Chronic pain presents a major challenge to the U.S. healthcare system. With an estimated 75 million Americans affected by chronic pain, the cost to the public in terms of health care, lost productivity and litigation is estimated at $100 billion every year. The psychosocial effects of chronic pain can result in job loss, depression, fear, anxiety, isolation, sleep disorders and marital and family dysfunction.
About Boston Scientific
Boston Scientific is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices whose products are used in a broad range of interventional medical specialties. For more information, please visit: http://www.bostonscientific.com/.
About Boston Scientific Neuromodulation Boston Scientific Neuromodulation is an innovation leader in implantable pain management technology. The use of pulses of electricity delivered directly to the nerves, known as Spinal Cord Stimulation, has been in use for more than 30 years without the unwanted side effects and long-term costs associated with pain medications and invasive surgical procedures such as spinal fusion. Spinal Cord Stimulation is a reversible therapy that has helped thousand of people find relief from chronic pain.
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CONTACT: Paul Donovan 508-650-8541 (office) 508-667-5165 (mobile) Media Relations Boston Scientific Corporation Larry Neumann 508-650-8696 (office) Investor Relations Boston Scientific Corporation
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