Painkiller restrictions too stringent, some docs say

Despite the progress made in reducing the threat of prescription painkiller addiction and abuse, some physicians, including those who once supported tighter laws and regulations, say the restrictions have gone too far in preventing medication access for people in need, according to an article from the Tampa Bay Times.

Physicians balk at having the appropriateness of their prescriptions questioned by pharmacies. "They call us sometimes and ask if (a prescription) is medically necessary," Rafael Miguel, M.D., a Tampa anesthesiologist who led the fight against the painkiller abuse epidemic in his state, told the newspaper. "Well, if I write a prescription and it's got my DEA number and my signature on it, what do you think, I'm joking around?"

While pharmacists who spoke with the Times emphasized their duty to exercise care, several patients described severe hardships in obtaining their prescribed medications. "For a while, 75 percent of the time they could not get it to me," said Karen Westover, 49, who has had one kneecap removed, suffers from fibromyalgia and uses a service dog to help her walk. "They'd tell me I had to go to another pharmacy. When I did, they said I was drug shopping." Yet another patient undergoing chemotherapy reportedly opted for hospice care as an alternative to living longer but in pain.

In an effort to help resolve barriers to legitimate access, the Florida Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, the Florida Academy of Pain Medicine and the Florida Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation plan to organize a meeting with pharmacy associations, the Drug Enforcement Administration and state Attorney General Pam Bondi, the newspaper reported.

To learn more:
- read the article