Florida pain clinics really began to feel the impact of becoming law enforcement’s newest target about one year ago. This was based in part on televison “magazine” shows and investigative reporters’ shows and articles publicizing many abuses by patients who were “doctor shopping” and physicians who were allegedly “over-prescribing.”
More regulations were enacted, and lawmakers approved severe penalties for doctors accused of over-prescribing, including prison sentences. Most physicians were banned from dispensing drugs in their offices, and the governor created a Florida drug “strike team” whose mission was to eliminate any pain clinics that were found to be suspicious. The Florida Surgeon General and the Board of Medicine made announcements about the “crackdown” on “over-prescribing.”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, since the implementation of the new pain management and prescribing laws, the Florida strike force has made thousands of arrests and seized millions of pills in an effort to curb alleged over-prescribing and prescription drug abuse.
Now, after a year of strict regulations and punishments for Florida’s pain management physicians, pain clinics, pharmacists and pharmacies, the state is continuing to attack the pain management profession. While the planned measures aren’t as harsh as those that began a year ago, such as installing prescription drop boxes at police stations, they continue to place a stigma on the practice of pain management – a medical subspecialty with the purpose of alleviating the pain of suffering patients.
In addition, patients with true medical need for prescription pain medications are finding it increasingly difficult to even locate a physician to treat them, given the stigma and the possibility of arrest and prosecution. Medical ethicists have commented on this problem, an issue that will become increasingly problematic for the foreseeable future.
If you work in the pain management industry (physician, pharmacist, pain clinic, pharmacy, etc.) and feel that your medical license, pharmacy license, or business is at risk or is under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or Florida Department of Health (DOH), please visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com for more information about this.