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Legislative leaders in New York, along with the offices of Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, are negotiating measures designed to curb “doctor shopping” for prescription painkillers.

The state Senate has passed bills that would reclassify the painkiller hydrocodone, so that it would require a new prescription each time. That requirement is currently in place for oxycodone. The move would cut down on doctor shopping by drug dealers and people addicted to the drugs.

Another Senate bill would increase criminal penalties for doctors and pharmacists who illegally divert prescription drugs, the Associated Press reports.

Schneiderman has proposed the Internet System for Tracking Overprescribing (I-STOP) bill, which would require doctors to search patients’ medical histories for patterns of drug abuse before they write a new prescription for controlled substances. Pharmacists would have to check the database before dispensing painkillers.

Doctors and pharmacists would enter information into the database every time a prescription for a controlled substance is issued or dispensed. Under current law, pharmacists must file a report twice a month. Doctors in New York are not required to report prescriptions.

The bill is endorsed by a bipartisan coalition of law enforcement and medical professionals and state and local legislators. However, the Medical Society of the State of New York, which represents 30,000 doctors, opposes the bill. The Pharmacists Society of the State of New York also opposes I-STOP.


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