Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rules set to loosen for issuing narcotics

The proposed legislation in this article could potentially allow a wide range of health professionals to prescribe controlled drugs. This list could include pharmacists.

For example, in Alberta, the new pharmacist prescribing rules prohibit controlled drug precribing because it's federally regulated. However, these changes would allow a profession to go Health Canada, prove it has the necessary training and then Health Canada would sign off on the profession in a general sense. Then the individual provinces would have to decide whether they would allow narcotics to be included in the scope of other pharmacist prescribing.

Not being able to prescribe these drugs was never a dealbreaker for Alberta pharmacists when it came to pharmacist prescribing, so it may not be necessary to do right away, but it does at least open that door.

From the National Post:
Foot doctors, midwives and nurses would be able to prescribe morphine, Oxycontin and other powerfully addictive medicine under a proposed federal rule that some analysts fear could inadvertently fuel Canada's growing prescription drug-abuse problem.

Health professionals who stand to benefit from a loosening of the decades-old restrictions on "controlled substances" applauded the move. It should mean better service for patients and less strain on the overworked physicians who must prescribe the medications now, they said.

One drug-abuse expert, though, warns that the monitoring and control of opiates is already inadequate, so allowing additional professionals to approve them would shift more pills into the burgeoning black market.

It probably makes sense to give the three groups such prescribing authority, said Dr. Benedikt Fischer of the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C.

However, with Canada using five times as many opiates per capita as the U.K., we need tighter limits generally on the distribution of narcotics, he said. ...more

No comments: