DEA’S production limits should match, not control, demand

DEA Says It Doesn’t ‘Regulate Practice of Medicine’ Amid Patient Backlash to Proposed Opioid Prescription Cuts

After hundreds of chronic pain patients begged the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reconsider its proposed cuts to opioid production, the agency told Newsweek it’s not responsible for their inability to get prescriptions.

If the DEA adopts the cuts, they would reduce production of some of the most commonly prescribed opioids in the United States for the fourth year in a row, drastically cutting fentanyl and oxymorphone, by 31 percent and 55 percent, respectively, as well as hydrocodone (19 percent), hydromorphone (25 percent) and oxycodone (9 percent).

These cuts should have no bearing on the decisions made by caregivers and their “legitimate pain patients,” according to the DEA.

It’s possible patients are getting caught in the crossfire from a flurry of recent federal policies aimed at culling illegal abuse of the drugs, but it’s not clear which policy, if any, is at fault for their reported lack of access.

Millions of Americans Addicted
Tablets of oxycodone from a prescription. A recent DEA proposal would reduce production of some of the most commonly prescribed opioids in the United States for the fourth year in a row. Eric Baradat/Getty images

In proposing the aggregate production quota, the DEA looks at the total amount of substances needed to meet the country’s medical, scientific, industrial and export needs for the year, including dispensed prescriptions, the DEA told Newsweek in a statement. That means the agency’s production limits should match, not control, demand.

The DEA “does not regulate the practice of medicine. We do not get between a doctor and his or her patient,” a DEA spokesperson said. “We also want legitimate pain patients, their families and caregivers to know that DEA does not seek to limit or take away their vital prescriptions.”

The cuts over the past few years are an attempt to change course after the DEA allowed drugmakers to ramp up opioid production between 2003 and 2013, the same period when more than 140,000 people perished from overdoses in the United States.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the surgeon general have implemented their own agenda to combat the opioid epidemic, issuing strict guidelines for doctors prescribing the drugs in 2016. On October 10, the Trump administration told physicians to use more caution in applying the guidelines, following widespread reports that people were cut off their prescriptions or even turned away, according to The New York Times.

It’s possible the guidelines, or the general stigma now associated with prescription painkillers, have led to the tapering off of supply reported by many chronic pain patients to the DEA. One patient, a stroke survivor, said he took prescription opioids without problems until 2017, when he said federal regulations made the drugs too hard to obtain. Since then, medical cannabis has helped but became less effective when his condition deteriorated. Now, he can’t travel or leave his home much because of the pain.

In 2018, an investigation by former Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill exposed financial ties between some of the world’s biggest producers of painkillers and third-party advocacy groups. Purdue Pharma, Mylan, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and other major drugmakers donated more than $10 million to patient advocacy groups like the National Pain Foundation, the American Geriatrics Society and the American Chronic Pain Association.

What a bunch of CRAP… the quote from the DEA  the agency told Newsweek it’s not responsible for their inability to get prescriptions.

Has no one else noticed that the DEA has moved from the number of “dead bodies” associated with a medical practice to the number of millions of doses that a prescriber has prescribed  to raid a practitioner’s practice ?

Sometimes that not only post the time frame where they come up with these “millions of doses” and make the mistake to state the number of pts involved. Often they claim that the prescriber is ILLEGALLY PRESCRIBING opiates when the average dose in ONE DOSE/DAY for each one of the pt..  When acceptable standard of care and best practices would suggest that a intractable chronic pain pt could take UP TO SEVEN DOSES A DAY.

What seems to be happening is that the Supreme Court recently questioned the constitutionality of the Civil Asset Forfeiture law… so it would seem that the DEA has changed its tactics as declaring a prescriber’s Rx written as illegal… so that they are going after “clawing back” all the payment made by Medicare and Medicaid to the prescriber and that may well be their “goose laying golden eggs” future of the DEA when the Supreme Court eventually declares Civil Asset Forfeiture act TOTALLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL !

Some states have passed laws that their judicial system cannot seize assets without the person being found guilty… but… it is claimed that when there is assets that could be seized…the state’s legal system will call in the DEA for assistance – so that they can seize the assets and SOMEHOW… some of those seized assets tend to find their way back to the state’s judicial system… either thru a “back door” or “under the table”…

3 Responses

  1. A few 4-letter words came to mind while reading this. They know damn well they’re making it hell on earth for pain patients (acute, post op and chronic). The scary part is I’ve contacted my rep(s) several times about this very issue (the DEA) and they both say they have no “power” over the DEA (which I know is total BS). I truly have never been so disappointed and pissed off at my govt than I am now. This interview shows us just how arrogant the DEA is.

  2. Ask Dr Smithers, Dr Bauer, Dr Hurwitz, Dr Christensen, Dr Cheek and thousands of others if DEA is regulating the practice of medicine…

    • We all know they are flat out lying to the public. They know what they are doing to healthcare. They know they limit Drs on how many patients they can prescribe to and how much each patient gets. They know they sometimes make Drs justify their reasons for prescribing to certain patients which means they go over our healthcare with Drs and say if we are allowed to have certain medications or not. They know they are acting like Nazi dictators to our Drs and they don’t care one bit about lying to the public about how dirty they are.

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