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Hassan Proposes Emergency Rules On Prescription Drugs

Edit: Shenzhen OK Biotech Technology Co., Ltd. (SZOB)    Date: Nov 04, 2015

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Hassan proposes emergency rules on prescription drugs


CONCORD, N.H. —Gov. Maggie Hassan is considering emergency rules regarding prescription painkillers in light of the ongoing heroin epidemic in New Hampshire.


Many consider the abuse of painkillers to be a driving force behind the heroin crisis, but not everyone is in favor of Hassan's approach.


This month, the governor's office put together a draft document with some proposed rule changes and circulated it through the medical community to generate feedback about prescribing painkillers.


Ordinarily, such changes would require public hearings and several procedural steps, but Hassan said she believes time isn't a luxury the state has.


"Every day that we don't change these rules is a day that we are losing more lives," Hassan said.


Hassan's ideas range from limiting opioid prescriptions to a five-day supply to banning the use of the pain drug fentanyl for everyone except cancer patients.


"If we need to do emergency rules, that's one way, but there are multiple ways that we can change these rules as quickly as we can as a part of a common sense way of addressing this challenge," Hassan said.


The emergency implementation would forgo normal public input and would stand for a period of six months until a more formal adoption process can be completed. Some said they think the governor is going too far too fast.


"All of this needs to be done with public hearings, and we need to do it appropriately in a process where we haven't impacted the ability of doctors to practice medicine," Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley said.


Bradley is the original architect of New Hampshire's prescription drug monitoring program and said the all-hands approach is working. But he said he also believes the medical community has to sign off on every step.


"We need to deal with the problems, but to take away pain medications or make them harder to prescribe to people that are suffering from some terrible afflictions would just be a calamity," Bradley said.


Other states are ahead of New Hampshire in adopting up-to-date rules with their boards of medicine, and Hassan said she worries that bureaucratic entanglements could slow progress in the Granite State.


"I understand people want input, and I understand that change is difficult, but that's not an excuse for inaction," she said.


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