ACP asks DEA to clarify Rx policies

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 31, 2005

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The second-largest physician group in the United States, the American College of Physicians, is calling upon the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to rapidly produce a document that clarifies the agency's position on several aspects of pain medicine.

In a Jan. 4 letter to the DEA, ACP President Charles K. Francis, MD, expressed concern that the DEA might have created a chilling effect on appropriate pain care when it removed a document entitled "Dispensing of Controlled Substances for the Treatment of Pain" from its Web site in October 2004. Dr. Francis added that an interim document, which the DEA published in the Nov. 16, 2004, Federal Register, "is causing confusion and will have negative effects on the care of patients."

"Clinicians need clear guidance on what factors raise questions in the prescribing of pain medications," Dr. Francis wrote. "Otherwise, there is a risk that proper prescribing will be discouraged, and physicians will be encouraged to turn away legitimate pain patients for fear of having too many such patients in a practice."

Dr. Francis also sought clarification of DEA policy regarding the writing of multiple prescriptions with different dispensing dates.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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