Lawmakers Consider Bill To Require More Secure Prescription Forms To Prevent Drug Abuse
In an attempt to balance doctors' need to prescribe strong painkillers and law enforcement efforts to track prescription drug abuse, the Senate is considering a bill (SB 151) that would create new drug prescribing forms, the Sacramento Bee reports. Currently, physicians must use triplicate forms to prescribe schedule II controlled drugs; one copy of the form is kept by the physician, one goes to the pharmacy and another copy is sent to the Department of Justice. Under the legislation, proposed by Senate President Pro Tem John Burton (D-San Francisco) and approved by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, the new forms would have seven of eight different security features and would be used to prescribe all drugs. Medical interest groups and law enforcement representatives still are negotiating the details of the measure, but it is intended to prevent prescription fraud and drug abuse while assuaging doctors' fears that they risk losing their licenses by prescribing narcotic painkillers, according to the Bee. "Doctors rightly or wrongly believe that they have to be careful about overprescribing for fear the regulator, the medical board or the Drug Enforcement Administration may step in and file charges against them for inappropriately prescribing too much pain reliever," Ron Joseph, executive director of the Medical Board of California, said. Dr. Scott Fishman, chief of the Division of Pain Medicine at Unicersity of California-Davis Medical Center, said, "There has to be a balanced approach. There is a risk in using these medicines." The bill may go to the Senate Public Safety Committee as early as next week, the Bee reports (Weaver Teichert, Sacramento Bee, 5/3).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.