By RONNIE ELLIS
Revised regulations implementing a wide-ranging new law to rein in prescription drug abuse seem to have quelled the most vociferous objections to the law.
House Bill 1, which attempts to combat prescription painkiller abuse and “pill mills,” went into effect last summer but initial emergency regulations governing prescribing procedures and tracking of use and prescription of the drugs caused widespread alarm among physicians, hospitals and patients with legitimate need for the drugs.
But amendments to those regulations presented Wednesday to a legislative oversight committee appear to have alleviated most, if not all, of the concerns.
“I think we’re fairly comfortable now, but that’s not to say there won’t be additional concerns and we’re going to continue to work until we get it right,” said Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, who sponsored the bill and co-chairs the oversight committee. “But I think this is a good step in the right direction.”
Physicians and patient advocates had complained that the initial regulations exceeded the intent of the bill by lumping many non-pain killer medications under the regulations.
They feared a requirement to run reports for each patient at the time of prescribing with the state’s electronic prescription and drug tracking system, KASPER, would interfere with prompt care for patients with legitimate pain issues such as cancer or trauma injuries.
There was also concern about requirements for physical exams and urine tests, which would be expensive and unnecessary for long-time patients, some of whom are elderly and suffer from chronic conditions. Others complained the regulations covered drugs for children under 16 who suffer from conditions such as attention deficit-hyper activity disorder or ADHD.
For the full story, see the print or e-edition of Thursday's Glasgow Daily Times.