FDA advisers reconsider training for painkiller prescribers
WASHINGTON - Federal health advisers are discussing changes to government programs that were intended to improve the safety of painkillers like OxyContin, but which have had an unclear impact.
The Food and Drug Administration has assembled more than two dozen experts to review its risk-management plans, put in place nearly four years ago to reduce misuse and abuse of long-acting painkillers. Those drugs are part of a national epidemic of addiction and overdoses tied to opioids.
Currently, the plans focus on voluntary physician training on how to safely prescribe the drugs. But FDA figures show that less than half of the doctors targeted by the effort have completed the courses.
A key question up for debate is whether doctors who prescribe OxyContin and similar drugs should be required to undergo the training.