White House: Docs Need Training Before Prescribing OxyContin & Other Painkillers

Too many doctors are writing unnecessary prescriptions for painkillers like OxyContin and fentanyl, says the White House. That’s why the administration is looking to push through legislation that would require training for physicians who wish to write prescriptions for these drugs.

The goal is to help doctors identify drug-seeking patients who are either faking or exaggerating pain in order to feed their habits.

From the NY Times:

Such a measure would likely entail Congressional approval of an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act to require that doctors undergo training as a condition of the renewal of licenses issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration for the prescription of narcotics. The law now gives the D.E.A. the authority to approve prescription licenses if a doctor merely shows an active license to practice medicine.

Meanwhile, the FDA announced earlier today that manufacturers of long-acting or extended release painkillers are now required to offer similar training to doctors, who can decide for themselves if they want to take the courses.

Of course, training — whether voluntary or mandatory — really doesn’t do anything to stop those doctors who, for whatever reason, don’t care that they are writing prescriptions for patients who have no medical need for painkillers.

Administration Wants Tighter Painkiller Rules [NY Times]