AMA: Delegates Support ‘Pain Relief Promotion’ Act
The American Medical Association Wednesday voted to support federal legislation that proposes to prevent doctor-assisted suicides, the AP/Boston Globe reports. The House passed The Pain Relief Promotion Act of 1999 in October in part because it had the endorsement of the AMA, which represents 300,000 physicians (Fox, 12/9). On the last day of a four-day convention, a majority of nearly 500 AMA delegates voted to support the measure, which was geared toward undermining Oregon's 1994 Death with Dignity Act. Dr. Donald Schroeder of Eugene, OR, said, "I strongly oppose federal intervention, but I'm so opposed to physician-assisted suicide that I support this action. ... It's a question of whether the ends justify the means." Estelle Rogers, executive director of the Death with Dignity National Center in Washington, D.C., said, "This is a direct slap in the face of Oregon voters" (Fox, Associated Press, 12/9). The AMA's "hasty decision" to support the bill, argued the Compassion in Dying Federation, brought about an "unwelcome federal intrusion into the doctor- patient relationship" (Compassion in Dying Federation release, 12/8). One of the provisions of the bill requires the Drug Enforcement Administration to revoke physicians' licenses to prescribe controlled substances, and to pursue criminal charges, if they assist suicides of terminally ill patients, regardless of state or local law (Fox, AP/Nando Times, 12/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.