PAIN MEDICATION: Assembly Votes to Relax Prescription Rules
By a 43-20 margin, the Assembly yesterday passed a bill that would reduce the amount of paperwork required to prescribe strong pain-relieving drugs such as morphine, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. Under current law, doctors must complete an official prescription form in triplicate before doling out certain controlled substances to patients. The physician retains one copy and the pharmacy another, while the third goes to the state Department of Justice. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Helen Thomson (D-Davis), the new measure would allow doctors to prescribe pain medications over the phone or by fax directly to a pharmacist, who would enter the prescription into a database. "It's a modernization of an antiquated paper system that is inefficient and doesn't catch the bad guys," Thomson said. Opponents argued that, according to law enforcement groups, ending triplicate forms would make it easier to abuse the pain drugs. Assemblyman Rod Pacheco (R-Riverside) noted that prior to the triplicate form system, which began in the 1980s, a deluge of codeine and other similar medications poured into the illicit drug market (5/30).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.