In May, the National Pain Report asked the question if pain patients are being denied legitimate prescriptions.
For the past several months, WESH-2 News in Orlando has been reporting on that very issue in Florida.
That reporting seems to have created some reaction.
On Tuesday, June 9, the Florida Board of Pharmacy is stepping up to see if it can do something about the number of prescription medication denials in Florida that WESH-2 says now number in the thousands.
“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.
Five members of the Board of Pharmacy will meet at the B Resort in Lake Buena Vista to hammer out a solution. They’ll be looking at changing or creating rules to ease the prescription problem.
The meeting, which is open to the public, will also welcome input from some of the people taking the blame for the problem, including pharmacy chains and drug wholesalers.
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.
When we were asking if the media is missing the point on pain medication in a story we ran in April, the National Pain Report quoted a couple of leading voices in chronic pain.
Dr. Richard Radnovich, a nationally known pain medicine specialist from Boise, Idaho said at the time, “The problem is that we have blurred the lines between 2 distinct problems: chronic pain treatment and substance abuse. The DEA is concerned with the latter. Medical providers just need to do a good job with the former: that is, show that they are using opioids for a legitimate medical purpose; and provide adequate medical care and supervision.”
Dr. Steve Passik, Vice President of Clinical Research and Advocacy at Millennium Health said, “Prescription drug abuse is a massive problem and we have to deal with it, but I’d also to see more consideration given to the person in pain in the dialogue going forward.”
It’ll be interesting to see what happens in Florida and whether other states follow the lead of the Sunshine State.
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