The Florida Board of Pharmacy will hold a meeting tomorrow (June 9) to discuss what one local TV news operations is calling “thousands of prescription denials” for pain patients in the Sunshine State.
One national pain leader is praising the Board for taking action.
“Florida’s Board of Pharmacy is showing common sense by having this hearing,” said Daniel Bennett, MD, DABPM, Chairman and CEO of The National Pain Foundation. “If legitimate chronic pain patients are being denied access to pain medications, then something must be done.”
WESH-2 TV News is Orlando has been reporting on the issue in recent months. The Board of Pharmacy has noticed.
Five members of the Board of Pharmacy will meet in Lake Buena Vista to hammer out a solution. They’ll be looking at changing or creating rules to ease the prescription problem.
“On a personal level, I feel horrible for them,” said Allison Dudley, executive director of the Florida Board of Pharmacy in Tallahassee. “I can’t imagine what some of the patients have to go through with 10 pharmacies a day trying to fill their prescriptions.”
The Board of Pharmacy makes the rules that pharmacists in Florida must follow. It’s that power that has many individuals feeling that the board could hold the answer to Florida’s prescription problems.
When Dudley and others saw the hundreds of patient testimonials outlined by WESH 2, they helped create the Controlled Substances Standards Committee.
For pain leaders like the National Pain Foundation’s Bennett, addiction issues and providing medication to meet the needs of people who live with chronic pain is not an either-or proposition.
“Florida’s Board of Pharmacy has the insight that chronic pain and addiction are two distinct diseases; both are serious! To focus on just one aspect of a problem (i.e. addiction disease) while neglecting the other (i.e. chronic pain) is not good public policy,” he said.
Elected officials and pharmacists in Florida, who have been feeling the heat of citizen dissatisfaction and media scrutiny on the issue, have blamed the DEA for the problem.
Neither the Food and Drug Administration nor the Drug Enforcement Administration takes responsibility for legitimate pain patients being denied prescriptions. The FDA says that any individual instances of pharmacists not filling prescriptions is an issue for state regulators. The DEA, which rescheduled hydrocodone last fall, says that pharmacists who refuse to fill real prescriptions are not doing their jobs.
The Government Accountability Office this year reported that the FDA and DEA – the two agencies that oversee drug products – should be working closer together on this issue.
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