ASRA Appointed to AMA Specialty Council; Advocates Against Prescription Restrictions

Nov 30, 2018

The American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA) is excited to announce its recent appointment to the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Pain and Palliative Medicine Specialty Section Council (PPMSSC).

The PPMSSC is a council of specialty societies ranging from addiction medicine to clinical oncology. These organizations work together to examine issues presented to the AMA by building relationships across specialties and securing support for the issues at hand to advance pain and palliative medicine.

As part of the council’s mission, ASRA and the other member societies proposed that the AMA address the issue wherein national pharmacies chains have generated letters to physicians informing them that they plan to scrutinize incoming prescriptions and at times will not fill a prescription that calls for an opioid dosage that exceeds the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. These guidelines were created to improve medical practices and serve as a tool for prevention; they were not intended as a standard or practice on mandating clinical decisions.

The AMA House of Delegates approved the proposal, and, as such, advocates against the misapplication of the CDC Guideline by pharmacists, health insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, legislatures, and governmental and private regulatory bodies in ways that prevent or limit patients’ medical access to opioid analgesia. The AMA affirms that some patients with acute or chronic pain can benefit from taking opioid pain medications at doses greater than generally recommended in the CDC Guidelines and that such care may be medically necessary and appropriate.

Furthermore, no entity should follow a medication’s thresholds as anything more than guidance, and physicians should not be subject to professional discipline, loss of board certification, loss of clinical privileges, criminal prosecution, civil liability, or other penalties or practice limitations solely for prescribing opioids at a quantifiable level that’s found in the CDC Guideline.