New York Lawmakers Reach Deal on Strictest Prescription Drug Plan in the Nation
New legislation aiming to reign in problematic issues with prescription drug safety may soon be on the desk of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign into law. The Empire State’s lawmakers reached an agreement that now must be approved by the state legislature. If the proposed changes end up passing, New York will have created some of the most stringent and comprehensive changes to prevent prescription drug diversion, abuse and addiction in the country.
One of the major components of the proposed policy would be to create a tighter reign on the drug hydrocodone by moving its classification from Schedule III to Schedule II. The federal government is also in the process of making the same change to national laws, but New York would be the first individual state to make this change that would include all drugs with hydrocodone in combination. Drugs containing the narcotic would become more difficult to obtain through prescription, but physicians would still be allowed to write prescriptions for up to 90 days at a time.
A Variety of Changes Are Proposed to New York Prescription Drug Law
Legislators hope to make the following modifications to the way prescription drugs are handled by physicians, pharmacists and law enforcement:
- New York’s present prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) is slated to be renovated into a database that functions in real time.
- All prescriptions for controlled substances will be mandated to be filed electronically.
- Both physicians and pharmacists will be required to check the drug database before writing or filling prescriptions for addictive drugs.
- The New York prescription drug legislation will also tackle the problem of doctor education. It would establish a task force to develop appropriate medical curriculum in reference to chronic pain management and prescription medications.
- The legislation calls for the state Department of Health to design and implement a prescription drug disposal program to streamline the safe removal of unused medications by citizens from their family medicine cabinets.
- Lastly, the narcotic pain med tramadol will receive its first drug classification as a schedule IV narcotic.
Many Physicians Consider the New York Bill a Groundbreaking New Policy
Although pharmaceutical companies are claiming the proposed legislation will limit access for patients in need of pain management, many physicians are backing the bill saying it is a fair and balanced approach to the problems fueling the current prescription drug epidemic. They feel changes need to be made to the status quo in order to inform and protect patients against potential addiction.
Do you feel that any of the above mentioned changes to prescription drug law would severely limit access to painkillers for patients in need? Let us know your opinion below.