The White House Drug Czar today released a report lauding what the WH a decrease in prescription painkiller abuse.  But he quickly added that in the view of the federal government, prescription painkiller abuse is still at “epidemic” levels and that enforcement against it will continue.

What does this mean for you as a healthcare provider?  It means everything the Feds and state and local authorities are doing now will continue.  From document requests, to prescription rate monitoring via database and by anecdotal and other evidence, to sting operations of suspected corrupt practitioners, current efforts will not abate.  What if you are, like most practitioners, ethical and not corrupt?  You need to be vigilant in your efforts to comply with the federal and state criminal laws regulating the prescription of Schedule II painkillers.  From patient intake to prescription monitoring to informed consent to treatment review, to knowing that “FDA” recommendations morph into “requirements” if they find you out of compliance, you need to protect yourself and your practice.  Remember:  While the world’s greatest neurosurgeon can get inside a DEA agent’s brain to operate, the doctor still won’t know what the agent is thinking, or how certain things in an office or on a prescription monitoring list look from the standpoint of law enforcement.  Be careful; be prepared; be in compliance.

Painkiller Law: Criminal Law Compliance for Healthcare Providers, is a service of the Meister Law Offices and can help you verify, achieve and maintain compliance with the criminal law of prescribing Schedule II pain medication.  Call us at 213.293.3737 for a free consultation, or email us at  Don’t become the Drug Czar’s next poster child.

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The Pew Health Group has just released a report analyzing the features and effectiveness of individual states’ Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, or PDMP‘s.  The report observes that while 45 out of 50 states in the U.S. have PDMP’s up and running, participation by healthcare providers and pharmacists in most states is optional, and funding and program effectiveness varies widely.  A good PDMP provides detailed information in as close to real-time as possible, to be utilized by providers, pharmacists, and others in spotting things like doctor-shopping, painkiller abuse, or drug-seeking behavior by patients.  It gives pharmacists and providers an accurate picture of a patient, and gives regulators a fuller picture of pharmacists and providers.  All healthcare providers and pharmacists should know what the recommended best practices are, in order to institute whatever they can at their own business.  That’s always a good way to (a) take good care of patients, and (b) demonstrate to law enforcement and regulators that you are doing everything you can to practice legally, safely and ethically.

Of note to MD’s, DO’s, PA’s and pharmacists should be that law enforcement, among others, can subscribe or be privy to information stored on a PDMP database.  Providers and pharmacists should maintain strict compliance with all applicable criminal and other laws governing prescribing and dispensing prescription painkillers.  Call Painkiller Law – the Meister Law Offices – at 213.293.3737 for a free consultation on complying with the law of prescription painkillers, and how to implement and maintain best practices in your business.  It’s good preventative medicine.



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