Saturday, November 05, 2005

DEA gets final say over prescription drugs - NOT

I didn't know this and it really pisses me off. The DEA must sign off on any new FDA-approved medications containing controlled substances before they can be sold. WTF are our legislators thinking, putting the practice of medicine into the hands of cops? It's bad enough they're conducting a vendetta against pain management practitioners that has virtually destroyed the specialty, resulting in millions of Americans living with unneccessary pain, but now they get to prevent new medicines from reaching that same market?
The disputed provision, sponsored by Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), was approved in a House-Senate conference committee last year with little debate and without a Senate vote. But opposition surfaced this year as the appropriations bill has worked its way through the conference. John Scofield, spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, said the conference's version is not expected to be voted on until today at the earliest.

...Before the provision was passed last year, the DEA's role with prescription drugs was primarily to decide how much of a controlled drug each company got to make, and then to monitor the use of those drugs on the market. Now, however, the DEA must sign off on any new FDA-approved medications containing controlled substances before they can be sold.
The new bill gives the DEA $201 million to spend on preventing prescription drug diversion persecuting doctors, an increase of more than $47 million from last year.

It's too infuriating - how far amok can this war on some drugs run before the public demands that the DEA be disbanded?

Update: Well that was fast. Thanks to the Media Awarness Project for archiving this speedy response to my outrage at this article. It appears our lawmakers found their common sense after all and failed to renew the provision giving the DEA final say over the introduction of new narcotic based drugs. Ironically we have the pharma corps partly to thank for it.
But this year the Food and Drug Administration, many drug makers and doctors who treat pain patients objected to renewing it, and the provision was stripped from the bill.
It's a good first step. Now maybe our legislators could stay awake long enough to take the persecution of the doctors themselves out of the DEA's grimy hands and put the review of best medical practices back with the peer group organizations where it belongs.


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