— Meeting will be held in Burlington, Vermont and will feature Governor Peter Shumlin (schedule permitting) —

Boston, Mass., February 27, 2014 – The New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (CEPAC), a flagship initiative of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), announced that it will hold a public meeting to assess the comparative effectiveness and value of management options for people with opioid dependence on June 20, 2014, in Burlington, Vermont.   CEPAC’s public deliberation of the evidence will provide clarity and guidance to clinicians, insurers, and policymakers confronted with decisions on how best to manage opioid dependence and establish policies that minimize the destructive effects of addiction.

Fatal drug overdoses have more than doubled in the United States since 1999, with pharmaceutical overdoses – particularly from opioid pain medications such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone – driving the increase.  Heroin use is also on the rise.  The percentage of people using heroin in the past year more than doubled since 2003Death from drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, outpacing deaths from homicide, suicide, and traffic fatalities.  In New England and across the country, state leaders have acknowledged the growing opioid addiction epidemic and are searching for strategies to manage dependency while tackling issues related to access, costs, and safety. Governors in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont all cited combating growing opioid abuse as a major priority in their State of the State addresses, and Governor Shumlin of Vermont, who devoted his entire speech to rising opioid abuse in his state, will attend the June CEPAC meeting and deliver opening remarks, schedule permitting.

“Opioid dependency is a complex clinical area involving multiple approaches to management about which there are important questions regarding comparative effectiveness and value,” stated Steven D. Pearson, MD, MSc, President of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review.  “In addition to a thorough review of the research, CEPAC will work with patient groups, clinicians, and other decision makers during their deliberation to develop recommendations for applying the evidence to policy and practice that consider the key priorities for patients, providers, and policymakers.”

Meeting Details

Date: Friday, June 20, 2014

Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM EDT

Location: Burlington, VT (exact location TBD)

Members of the public wishing to attend the meeting must register by June 10, 2014 by visiting here.   The draft evidence report that will form the basis of the CEPAC meeting will be posted to the CEPAC website on or about May 12, 2014.  The CEPAC website also includes instructions for those wishing to submit written comments on the draft report ahead of time, and those requesting the opportunity to make public comments at the meeting.


CEPAC, an independent, regional body of practicing physicians, methodological experts, as well as patient/public members, provides objective, independent guidance on the application of medical evidence to clinical practice and payer policy decisions across New England.  Led by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, CEPAC was originally funded by a federal grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), but is now supported by a broad coalition of state Medicaid leaders, integrated provider groups, public and private payers and patient representatives.  For more information on CEPAC, please visit cepac.icer-review.org. 

About ICER

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) is an independent non-profit health care research organization dedicated to improving the interpretation and application of evidence in the health care system. For more information about ICER, please visit ICER’s newly redesigned website: www.icer-review.org.