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$3 million gift from Purdue Pharma to support MGH Pain Program

BOSTON — February 5, 2002 — A significant gift to the Massachusetts General Hospital from Purdue Pharma L.P. of Stamford, Conn., will support a range of programs aimed at improving the understanding and management of the most common symptom of illness and injury – pain. The $3 million commitment from the Purdue Pharma Fund will be used to develop and expand opportunities for health care professionals to learn more about the wide range of tools and techniques for managing and treating pain. The grant also will be used to enhance the hospital’s clinical research efforts focused on pain.

To recognize this contribution, the hospital’s pain program will be named the MGH Purdue Pharma Pain Center.

"Purdue Pharma and the MGH share an unwavering commitment to finding ways to alleviate acute and chronic pain," says Jane Ballantyne, MD, an MGH anesthesiologist and director of the hospital’s Pain Center. "Too many people today continue to experience pain despite the increasing number of pain relief measures available. This generous gift from Purdue will assist us in finding ways to clear up misconceptions and misunderstandings about pain and provide caregivers with the knowledge and resources they need to help patients who are suffering from pain, perhaps needlessly."

The educational initiatives that the Purdue gift will support at the MGH include development of courses that will offer educators in the health professions up-to-date information about pain along with the educational tools and effective teaching methods they need. Other efforts involve sponsoring continuing medical education courses for medical professionals and developing and distributing educational materials such as books, pamphlets, posters, slides and presentations.

Pain management is a relatively new field, according to Ballantyne. Dealing with pain as an entity itself rather than as just a symptom of an underlying disorder has become more of a focus in recent years as scientists have advanced the understanding of pain mechanisms and pain as a disease process, including at the molecular and genetic levels.

"Clinical researchers and caregivers are evaluating new and effective treatments, improving existing therapies and developing new paradigms for managing pain," Ballantyne says. "The integration of research and education is crucial in translating our rapidly expanding knowledge into improvements in clinical care."

In 1982 the MGH established a multidisciplinary pain center, recognizing the benefits of fully assessing and analyzing pain and tailoring its management to individual patients’ needs. Staff members in the Pain Center – anesthesiologists, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses and physical therapists – collaborate with primary care practitioners as well as physicians from virtually every specialty, providing diagnosis, consultation and around-the-clock inpatient and outpatient treatment.

The MGH Pain Center, which has expanded greatly during the past two decades, has remained committed to evaluating new pain therapies, techniques and practices. The center has helped shape the field of pain management, identifying many of today’s best practices, conducting innovative clinical and basic research, and disseminating information and results to the health care community.

"The MGH has long been a leader in the field of pain," says Paul Goldenheim, MD, executive vice president, Worldwide Research and Development at Purdue Pharma. "We are pleased that Purdue Pharma can support and work closely with the hospital to continue advancing the understanding of pain treatment and management. Our mutual efforts to expand the training of physicians, nurses and other health care providers and to support clinical research efforts will ultimately help the more than 50 million people who each day deal with the consequences of pain."

Purdue Pharma’s gift to the MGH is the largest and one of the first contributions associated with the company’s recently launched Purdue Pharma Fund, which will focus contributions on nonprofit organizations dealing with education, treatment and research involving patients with pain.

"Pain is enormously devastating and debilitating, and those who experience pain deserve nothing less than our undivided attention, our creative thinking and our best efforts," says Warren Zapol, MD, chief of Anesthesia at the MGH. "Purdue Pharma and the MGH are both committed to helping all health care providers gain a better understanding and a deeper appreciation of the importance of accurately diagnosing and aggressively managing this insidious disease called ‘pain.’ Thanks to Purdue Pharma’s wonderful gift, we can move closer and closer toward achieving this goal."

Massachusetts General Hospital, established in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The 870-bed academic medical center annually admits 42,000 patients and records nearly 1.5 million visits in its extensive outpatient programs. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than $300 million and major research centers in AIDS, anesthesia, cancer, cardiovascular research, cutaneous biology, the neurosciences, orthopedics, pain science, photomedicine and transplantation biology. In 1994, the MGH joined with Brigham and Women’s Hospital to form Partners HealthCare, an integrated health care delivery system comprising the two academic medical centers, specialty and community hospitals, a network of physician groups and nonacute and home health services.

Purdue Pharma L.P., headquartered in Stamford, CT, is a privately held pharmaceutical company known for its pioneering research on chronic pain. The company is engaged in the research, development, production and distribution of both prescription and over-the-counter medicines and hospital products. As the sponsor of Partners Against Pain®, Purdue encourages the therapeutic alliance of patients, their families, caregivers and health care professionals.


Media Contact: Sue McGreevey , MGH Public Affairs
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