Magazine article Drug Topics

Massachusetts to Legislate Plan for Pain Management

Magazine article Drug Topics

Massachusetts to Legislate Plan for Pain Management

Article excerpt

Pharmacists in Massachusetts are preparing to step forward as clinicians who are experts in pain management, following release of a comprehensive report, which presents the Massachusetts state legislature with an action plan for improving the treatment and management of pain in the state.

Steve Grossman, a pharmacist at J.E. Pierce Apothecary, Brookline, Mass., and v.p. of the Boston Association of Retail Druggists (BARD), said the state's action is necessary to combat pharmacists' and physicians' fears of breaching "the legal side of things when actually they're only dispensing appropriate pain medications for appropriate uses."

Grossman added, "Law enforcement has created a very aggressive climate that has made it very difficult for patients in Massachusetts to receive the Schedule II medications they need. This bill would educate all the parties on what's appropriate in the use of these medications."

Drafted by the Massachusetts legislature's special subcommittee on the management of acute and terminal pain, the Massachusetts report is the result of public hearings and testimonies from individuals and representatives of organizations concerned with all aspects of pain control. State pharmacy associations and patients' rights groups contributed to the report, which calls for the state legislature to amend existing pharmacy laws so that the prescribing and dispensing of Schedule II narcotics is less burdensome for physicians and pharmacists.

Nationally, pain management is becoming a hot topic, with pain commissions established in Arkansas, California, Florida, and Georgia. While the commissions have filed their reports, none has followed up with legislation. However, legislation is pending in Texas that would improve the level of physician education in pain management.

In Massachusetts, the special subcommittee's proposals would free pharmacists to fill prescriptions for Schedule II medications from prescribers in all states. …

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