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Medical Malpractice

Measures to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse

December 4, 2013 | Michael Barasch

In August, a new law intended to stop New York physicians from overprescribing prescription drugs went into effect. In September, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new requirements for certain narcotic drugs. Both measures aim to reduce the epidemic of prescription drug abuse affecting people in New York and across the United States. 

Created last year, the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing – Prescription Medicine Program (I-STOP/PMP) is a confidential registry that allows physicians and pharmacists to monitor controlled substance use by their patients. Review of documentation on the registry is required before healthcare providers prescribe certain controlled substances. Among the database’s important features, I-STOP: 

  • Prohibits acquisition of multiple prescriptions for powerful controlled substances by patients trying to doctor shop
  • Requires physicians to acknowledge existing prescriptions, avoid over-prescription and monitor potential side effects between prescribed drugs
  • Provides free, confidential reports to doctors and pharmacists 24 hours a day, seven days a week 

In the hopes of increasing product safety, reducing drug abuse and improving patient information, the FDA is requiring label changes on all extended-release and long-acting opioid painkillers. Points concerning the new labeling requirement include: 

  • The class-wide labeling revisions take effect by the end of 2013.
  • Manufacturers must run clinical studies and provide research data showing long-term effects of their products and address concerns that patients on analgesics become more sensitized to pain.
  • The FDA hopes to restrict prescription of opioid analgesics to patients requiring relief for severe pain. 

Addiction to prescription painkillers is a personal and community issue. These new initiatives require responsible dispensing of dangerous drugs. If you have questions about injuries caused by medication errors, seek experienced legal representation.

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