Should Doctors Focus Less on Patient Satisfaction to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse?

Far too many health care providers are more concerned with patient satisfaction than they are with protecting patients from the risk of prescription drug abuse and addiction. This attitude is enforced by current teaching in pain management, which is largely based on a concern for providing relief for patients with chronic pain. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that roughly 116 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Healthcare providers have long struggled with the challenges involved with the long-term treatment of pain, including the need for escalating doses as patients become tolerant to medication and the risk of addiction. Doctors and Hospitals Worry about Negative Patient Feedback According to Sherry Green, CEO of the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws (NAMSDL), education for prescribers needs to focus less on patient satisfaction and more on improvements in patient functioning. Green also points out that with physician ratings available online, some doctors feel pressured to give patients the drugs they ask for rather than risk a negative rating. Hospitals…

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Florida Governor Declares Victory Over Pill Mills

It's been a year since law enforcement agencies in Florida began to crack down on "pill mills" that were responsible for the widespread distribution of prescription painkillers like oxycodone (marketed under the names OxyContin, Roxicodone and Oxyfast). This week, Governor Scott is calling the efforts of regional law enforcement teams a success, with 213 pill mill clinics shut down in the past year. The Governor also stated that nearly half a million pills were taken off the streets and more than 2000 drug-related arrests were made. Despite this impressive arrest record, Florida still appears to have more work to do in ridding itself of its prescription drug problem. The number of statewide deaths from prescription drugs dropped only 8 percent between 2010 and 2011. Prescription drugs still kill more people than illegal drugs in the state.  Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi admits that Florida still has a long way to go in the fight against prescription drug abuse. By 2010, Florida had earned a reputation as the nation's center…

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California’s Prescription Monitoring System Threatened by Budget Cuts

Two of the biggest cases of prescription drug diversion in California weren't broken open by detective work alone.  Dr. Lisa Barden, an obstetrician from the Coachella Valley, stole patients' identities to fuel her own prescription drug addiction.  Dr. Nazar Al Bussam, was the top provider of illegal prescription drugs in Southern California for three years.  Both doctors were arrested after being flagged by California's prescription drug monitoring system. California's system, known as the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES), is the oldest drug monitoring program in the nation. Read more about CURES at the State of California Department of Justice Website. At a time when prescription drug abuse is at an all-time high, California Governor Jerry Brown is threatening to shut down the system in response to budget cuts.  According to authorities, future investigations into unethical doctors and illegal prescriptions would be seriously impacted if the system was no longer updated with prescription information from pharmacies. Three years ago, the CURES database was moved online and made…

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Doctor Sold Prescriptions at Starbucks

It was never our intention to to become a watchdog website that would use our outlet to humiliate unethical doctors criminals. Yet recently we are reading some stories that compel us to provide as much of a "comeuppance" as we can to shady and unethical doctors like Alvin Ming-Czech Yee of Mission Viejo (medical practice was in Irvine). This "doctor" sat in a Starbucks Coffee Shop and sold prescriptions for OxyContin -  also known as"legal heroin" (or also known as "the prescription drug that is shattering families in record numbers)." Again, let us reiterate that Dr. Yee would perform his examinations in Starbucks. the "examinations" would last about a minute. Yee would meet up with a dozen people per night in Starbucks throughout Orange County.  The "examinations" drug deals consisted of taking blood pressure and asking patients addicts to bend over to touch their toes.  Yee laughed and joked with patients — and undercover DEA agents — and told them business was good, prosecutors allege. Yee was brazen but…

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Increase in Doctors Facing Criminal Prosecution Related to Drug Abuse

Dr. Conrad Murray is currently facing trial for involuntary manslaughter for administering a powerful anesthetic that led to the death of Michael Jackson.  Murray is part of a growing trend of doctors who are criminally prosecuted for medical malpractice.  According to Reuters news service, fewer than 40 doctors faced criminal charges for malpractice between 1809 and 2000.  Since 2001, there have been at least 37 cases – almost as many as in the previous 200 years. The majority of the cases since 2001 involved doctors who have overprescribed prescription painkillers and other controlled substances.  Many doctors have been charged under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, which allows prosecution of physicians who knowingly prescribe medication outside the usual course of professional practice or for non-medical purposes. Prior to the case of Dr. Murray, the most famous prosecution of a doctor involved the death of model and reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith.  Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, Smith's doctor, was charged with supplying the celebrity with dangerous prescription drugs that eventually…

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Los Angeles OxyContin Pill Mills Raided

The pill mills of Florida have generally been the primary focus of a of media attention. However, we've seen some big OxyContin related busts in the southland of California as well: Smuggling Ring Took Pills Into Mexico Newport Coast Doctor Gets 230 Year Sentence Rowland Hights Dr. Tseng - Doctor of Death Sued by Family of Overdose Victim This week Los Angeles has some news on the Oxy Crackdown because  four medical clinics that were suspected of illegally dispensing prescriptions were raided. Investigators determined that the San Fernando Valley clinics have been operating as pill mills, catering to addicts seeking narcotic painkillers and other prescription drugs.  The raids were carried out by local, state and federal investigators from the LAPD, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the California Department of Justice, the IRS and the FBI. The investigation was prompted by several recent overdoses in the area, including the overdose death of a 51-year-old man who had obtained prescriptions for several different medications from one of the clinics.  Pharmacy bottles…

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Positive News on the Opiate Crackdown in Ohio

In an article forwarded to us (6 men charged in Ohio Pill Mill Ring) , we see that Ohio is doing their part to crackdown on the OxyContin epidemic.  Authorities in Ohio are prosecuting six people involved in a pill mill in Waverly.  This is encouraging because you can read how unsavory the behaviors of the pill mill operators were: The indictment alleges that the clinic was owned and operated by Nancy and Lester Sadler and Lisa Clevenger. The clinic operated as a “pill mill” by selling prescriptions for controlled substances (usually oxycodone), without a legitimate medical need for the prescriptions. Many of the prescriptions were openly sold and diverted. Blank prescriptions forms were sold so the buyer could use or resell the prescriptions. Additionally, the defendants allegedly created fake medical records and prescriptions for individuals who were not actual customers of the clinic in order to divert additional prescriptions. The defendants also allegedly used Banks’ DEA registration number and fake names to order large quantities of controlled substances,…

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