Business and Economics

Rules Adopted for Pain Medication Prescriptions

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October 25, 2013 — New rules in Indiana intend to help monitor addictive pain medications, their users and the doctors who prescribe them.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana yesterday adopted new rules for physicians who prescribe addictive pain medications to nonterminal patients and for monitoring their records.

Beginning December 15, physicians will be required to monitor certain patient histories via the state’s drug monitoring system called INSPECT which lists medication prescriptions for a patient.  Zoeller said this effort can prevent someone from “doctor shopping” or obtaining multiple prescriptions for the same drug from different physicians.

He says the board also adopted a new rule giving his office the ability to more efficiently review physician records involving controlled substances.  Zoeller said this rule helps his office during investigations of physicians who might be overprescribing.

Since January of last year, the Indiana Attorney General’s office has filed complaints or summary suspensions against more than 15 doctors for overprescribing medications.

The Attorney General says the rules aim to ensure patients are informed about their prescriptions while intending that physicians closely monitor patients to identify cases of prescription drug misuse and abuse.  A recent study by Trust for America’s Health revealed the number of deaths caused by overdoses in Indiana has quadrupled since 1999.

This year, the Indiana General Assembly directed the board to implement new rules about prescribing controlled substances and about strengthening the authority of the Attorney General’s office to inspect physician records in overprescribing cases.

The two emergency rules stem in part from recommendations made by the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force which Zoeller launched last year.

“Thanks to the hard work by the state’s Medical Licensing Board and to the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, Indiana is making great strides in the battle against prescription drug abuse,” Zoeller said. “By ensuring physicians are educating and closely monitoring patients and Hoosier patients are well informed, we can help stop cases of doctor shopping and even overprescribing.”

The goal of the task force is to significantly reduce the abuse of controlled prescription drugs and to decrease the number of deaths associated with these drugs in Indiana.  The task force also makes recommendations for new rules, regulations and state statutes to the Indiana General Assembly.

Zoeller says the task force and the Indiana State Medical Association will issue a physician toolkit to help doctors follow the new emergency rules.  His office also will host the fourth annual Prescription Drug Abuse Symposium on November 1, when health officials will discuss Indiana’s prescription drug abuse epidemic and learn more about the new rules.

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