Florida’s pill mill crackdown makes getting meds difficult for ‘legitimate pain’ patients

http://www.pharmaciststeve.com/?p=9913

Since Florida implemented new regulations to stamp out abuse, pharmacists have refused to fill some of Knighton’s pain prescriptions. As a result, he says he can’t get all of the medication he needs to manage his pain.

“I’ve been made to feel like a drug addict — like I am on trial,” said Knighton, 54, who has a rare spinal condition called syringomyelia. “The war on drugs has become the war on the disabled.”

At Accardi’s practice, chronic pain patients must submit to a half hour interview and a criminal background check to verify they won’t abuse the drugs. Only 1-in-10 is approved, Accardi said…

“They are trying to be functional, and if you take away the tools to stay functional, it can really impact them a lot,” Sharma said. “Their stress and depression rises when they lose their functional level.”

But these enforcement actions and new regulations also carried unintended consequences, said Michael A. Jackson, executive vice president and CEO of the Florida Pharmacy Association. Pharmacies and physicians are sometimes scared to provide pain medication to people who legitimately need it, including terminally ill cancer patients, he said…

One time his pharmacy was flagged by a wholesaler because it ordered more drugs in advance of a price increase, he said. Because of the limited supply, he’s not accepting any new chronic pain patients, despite the pharmacy getting 15 to 20 calls a day from people inquiring about the availability of painkillers…

State Attorney General Pam Bondi also defends the state regulations. “The legislation we supported didn’t have any impact on any doctor writing a prescription or a pharmacist filling a prescription,” said Whitney Ray, a spokesman for the attorney general…

If Attorney General Bondi really thinks the legislation wouldn’t have any impact on doctors or pharmacists, then she’s just plain dumb.