The DEAâs war on pain doctors got a facelift today as explained in their ironically titled press-release âWorking Together: DEA and the Medical Communityâ.
Today, DEA is unveiling a proposed rule that will make it easier for patients with chronic pain or other chronic conditions, to avoid multiple trips to a physician. It will allow a physician to prescribe up to a 90-day supply of Schedule II controlled substances during a single office visit, where medically appropriate. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is accompanied by a policy statement, âDispensing Controlled Substances for the Treatment of Pain,â which provides information requested by medical professionals regarding DEAâs position on this important issue.
Itâs nice to see the spirit of cooperation take hold at DEA, but recent history tells a different story. Iâd bet the average pain management specialist feels less like a partner here and more like the groom at a shotgun wedding.
Indeed, this is a not-so-subtle attempt to smooth over the public relations nightmare that has resulted from the agencyâs relentless harassment of pain management doctors:
Also new today, DEA is launching a new page on its website (www.dea.gov) called âCases Against Doctors.â Everyone will be able to see for themselves the criminal acts committed by those few physicians who are subject to prosecution or administrative action each year.
The Cases Against Doctors page reeks of insecurity on DEAâs part, suggesting that widespread criticism may have affected Karen Tandy, whoâs usually numb from heavy doses of self-righteousness.
Update: USA Today and Washington Post have the story. Both note the hostile relationship DEA has fostered with the medical community. Washington Post describes the regulations as an unambiguous concession to the medical community, which has generally gotten the cold shoulder from DEA on this issue.
Still, to the extent that DEA has capitulated here, it probably has more to do with last monthâs reversal of the Hurwitz conviction than any sudden recognition that maybe doctors have useful ideas about how to define legitimate medical practices.