WESH TV of Orlando aired a special investigative report on April 2, 2015 detailing the unintended consequence of the crackdown on “pill mills” in Florida.  State of Pain reveals that some patients with severe medical conditions are having difficulty finding pharmacies willing to fill their prescriptions for controlled substances.  The causes for this are many and include pharmacists’ fear of regulatory action, skepticism because of the deceitful schemes of drug abusers and dealers, and regulatory pressure on the entire supply chain to be very cautious when distributing and dispensing prescription controlled substances.

There are two bad outcomes that physicians, pharmacies and regulators must prevent:  1) drugs getting into the wrong hands, and 2) drugs not getting into the right hands.  We don’t have to chose between these outcomes.  We must prevent both bad outcomes.  The reality is that if DEA or other regulators are taking enforcement action, a bad outcome has already occurred.  So here’s a twist on an old adage that might just be a prescription for avoiding bad outcomes.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of enforcement.  Clear guidelines from regulators and open communication between regulators and industry are my prescription for prevention.  Even good legislative efforts like H.R. 471 are no substitute for common sense guidelines and communication.  They are the prescription to ensure patient access to needed medications while preventing prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands.

State of Pain provides perspectives from Governor Rick Scott, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, NABP President Carmen Catizone, Senators Nelson and Rubio, patients, and others.