Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Congresswoman calls for hearing on prescription access problem Cancer and hospice patients denied medication

Published  10:46 PM EDT Aug 07, 2015
DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. —In a matter of days, the Florida Board of Pharmacy will meet to address the issue of pain medication being denied to patients in need, and already one lawmaker is speaking out.

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown said she will call for a congressional hearing to investigate the problem.

After meeting with senior citizens, Brown spoke with WESH 2 News to talk about the prescription access problem.
"It is just not acceptable the way this is working. It was not our intent," Brown said.

Brown said she's heard from at least 100 constituents, including cancer and hospice patients, who have been denied access to legitimate pain medications. She said she has met with pharmacists and other lawmakers, who have also expressed their frustrations.

WESH 2 News asked: "What about a congressional hearing on this issue?"

"That's next, because many members have indicated they have had the same problem," Brown said.

Like the attorney general and the governor, Brown blames the Drug Enforcement Administration for the crisis. In April, she said, "The root of the problem seems to lie with overzealous or excessive crackdowns," adding, "DEA officials have excessively censured doctors and pharmacists and limited the flow of prescription drugs to such a degree that patients are not able to access prescriptions."

She said she's been trying to organize a community meeting with the DEA and other stakeholders, since July of last year.

"Has the DEA been receptive to that idea?" WESH 2 News asked.

"They have not to this point. No, they have not. It hasn't happened," Brown replied.
Brown said she plans on holding that meeting with or without the DEA.

"I'm going to have it in August whether we have some empty chairs there or not," she said.

The congresswoman will also meet with Attorney General Pam Bondi in the coming weeks to discuss the current problem and the unintended consequences to the pill mill crackdown.

Brown credits Bondi for working to fix the current prescription access problem. Meanwhile, the DEA, which has been facing mounting criticism, will be addressing the issue publicly at Monday's Board of Pharmacy meeting in Deerfield Beach.      WESH 2 News will be there. 

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