PARSIPPANY, N.J. and EVANSTON, Ill., Dec. 14, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Illinois Surgical Quality Improvement Collaborative (ISQIC), a nationally recognized partnership of 56 Illinois hospitals, and Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PCRX), today announced an initiative to jointly develop programs and resources that will support best practice pain management prescribing for surgical patients throughout the State of Illinois. The focus of the initiative is to develop and provide intensive, interactive educational tools for hospitals in order to improve adherence to evidence-based best practices for perioperative pain management.

ISQIC and Pacira will work in collaboration to minimize opioid prescribing across the spectrum of surgical care by focusing on four key elements, namely: setting appropriate pain management expectations preoperatively; patient assessment, including screening for addictive behavior; optimizing perioperative pain control while minimizing or eliminating opioid use; and weaning patients from opioids as early as possible.

"This collaboration is a great opportunity to impact opioid prescribing in surgical care. We are excited to develop and implement critically-needed educational tools that will improve pain management prescribing throughout the Illinois Surgical Quality Improvement Collaborative," said Karl Bilimoria, MD, MS, a surgical oncologist and director of the Illinois Surgical Quality Improvement Collaborative.

"A surgical encounter is often the first time a patient is exposed to opioids, and it therefore represents an opportunity for us to assure that patients receive adequate education about the risks involved in taking opioid medications and about safe storage and disposal practices," said Jonah Stulberg, MD, PhD, a general surgeon leading the opioid reduction initiatives for ISQIC.

In Illinois alone, of the 2,278 statewide drug overdose deaths that occurred during 2016, over 80 percent (or 1,826 occurrences) were opioid-related fatalities. 1 According to a recent JAMA Surgery study, more than two-thirds of postsurgical patients report unused prescription opioids—and the majority indicate that these medications are neither safely stored nor disposed of—suggesting a dangerous accumulation of opioids in the home, which are available for potential diversion or misuse. 2 Therefore, surgeons have the opportunity to make a substantial impact on the opioid crisis and the health of their patients by minimizing opioid prescribing in the perioperative period and by providing adequate patient education.

"We look forward to collaborating with ISQIC on this joint commitment to decrease postsurgical reliance on opioids, and ultimately improve the patient recovery experience," said Dave Stack, chairman and chief executive officer of Pacira Pharmaceuticals. "We are hopeful that this comprehensive initiative, which encompasses presurgical consultation and assessment, patient and provider education, and the implementation of evidence-based protocols, will become a model for hospitals across the state of Illinois and beyond."

About ISQIC ISQIC is a nationally recognized partnership of 56 Illinois hospitals, the Illinois and Metropolitan Chicago Chapters of the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP), the Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center (SOQIC) at Northwestern University, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois. ISQIC supports participating hospitals in successfully implementing data-driven quality improvement initiatives by equipping hospitals with the tools needed to leverage their data and to develop targeted improvement strategies, ultimately resulting in improved surgical quality of care throughout Illinois. Additional information about ISQIC is available at

About PaciraPacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PCRX) is a specialty pharmaceutical company dedicated to advancing and improving postsurgical outcomes for acute care practitioners and their patients. The company's flagship product, EXPAREL® (bupivacaine liposome injectable suspension) was commercially launched in the United States in April 2012. EXPAREL utilizes DepoFoam®, a unique and proprietary product delivery technology that encapsulates drugs without altering their molecular structure, and releases them over a desired period of time. To learn more about Pacira, including the corporate mission to reduce overreliance on opioids, visit

Forward Looking Statements Any statements in this press release about the company's future expectations, plans, outlook and prospects, and other statements containing the words "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "estimates," "expects," "intends," "may" and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including risks relating to: the success of the company's sales and manufacturing efforts in support of the commercialization of EXPAREL; the rate and degree of market acceptance of EXPAREL and the company's other products; the size and growth of the potential markets for EXPAREL and the company's ability to serve those markets; the company's plans to expand the use of EXPAREL to additional indications and opportunities, and the timing and success of any related clinical trials; the related timing and success of United States Food and Drug Administration supplemental New Drug Applications; the outcome of the U.S. Department of Justice inquiry; the company's plans to evaluate, develop and pursue additional DepoFoam-based product candidates; clinical trials in support of an existing or potential DepoFoam-based product; the company's commercialization and marketing capabilities; the company's and Patheon UK Limited's ability to successfully and timely construct dedicated EXPAREL manufacturing suites; and other factors discussed in the " Risk Factors " of the company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016 and in other filings that the company periodically makes with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the company's views as of the date of this press release. Important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated or implied by forward-looking statements, and as such the company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause its views to change. However, while the company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, it specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the company's views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.

1 Illinois Department of Human Services. The Opioid Crisis in Illinois: Data and the State's Response. Published online June 2, 2017. 2 JAMA Surg. Published online August 2, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.0831
Media Contacts:Illinois Surgical Quality Improvement Collaborative (ISQIC)Remi Love, (312) 694-7742rlove@isqic.orgPacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc.Amber Sears, (973) 254-3587amber.sears@pacira.comCoyne Public RelationsAlyssa Schneider, (973)

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