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Damage Control on Pain Control

Damage Control on Pain Control

Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK) says maybe he will, and maybe he won’t,make the changes to his Pain Relief Promotion Act (S. 1272) that the American Medical Association (AMA) is requesting. S. 1272 is the Senate version of a bill (HR 2260) that passed the House late last October with strong AMA support. Then, in December, the AMA House of Delegates asked for some changes in the bill, which creates a safe harbor from federal prosecution for physicians who prescribe controlled substances for patients who subsequently die. Those physicians cannot be prosecuted for participating in an assisted suicide. At least that is the bill’s intent. But some critics say that the bill could lead to more federal interference with the practice of medicine. Joe Bailes says that ASCO supports S. 941, a bill sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), which simply endorses federal research into pain control methods. Bailes says that ASCO is concerned about some of the enforcement provisions in the Nickles bill—the same concerns voiced by the AMA House.

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