Pennsylvania's painkiller guidelines for cancer patients graded same as 2006
Ben Allen, WITF General Assignment Reporter | 07.28.14
Going back to 2006, Pennsylvania has stood pat on pain management policies for cancer patients, and a recent study partially funded by the American Cancer Society and Livestrong Foundation consistently gives the state a grade of B.
"Achieving Balance in State Pain Policy" says it's worth paying attention to the state Legislature because some bills would add restrictions for prescription pain killers.
It grades states down if opiods are considered a last resort treatment, or doctors don't have flexibility in making a decision about prescribing.
"Controlled substance regulations have undue prescription requirements that when docs are writing prescriptions, they have to file with the Attorney General's office there, and that can create a hardship," says David Woodmansee with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
The report doesn't detail what exactly an undue requirement is.
A recent study in a health journal found nine states dispensed fewer opiods after putting a monitoring program in place, while eight saw an increase.
"Those are legitimate legal reasons and needs to be able to access prescription drugs. While law enforcement is dealing with the criminals, we ask simply that cancer patients not be made into criminals because they need these drugs to get through their day or their night," adds Woodmansee.
To get an A, on top of keeping all policies the same, Pennsylvania needs to clear up some language in current law, says the report.
Guidelines for prescribing painkillers to cancer patients are expected soon after the state recently introduced recommendations for noncancer patients.
Published in Healthcare Transformation