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Improper prescription of painkillers and professional discipline, P.2

In our previous post, we began looking at the topic of opioid painkiller overprescription and some of the prescription recommendations released by the CDC earlier this year. As we noted last time, physicians need to be aware of the guidelines concerning painkiller prescription and to make sure they are exercising sound professional judgment in their use of these drugs. Failure to do so can put a physician’s license at risk.

One example of this is the case of a Minnesota physician recently had his professional license suspended for improper prescription of narcotics. The physician was first disciplined back in the early 90s, but the restrictions put upon his practice were removed in 1995. Fast forward over a decade and the physician’s insurance provider terminated the relationship over excessive prescription of narcotics. After a lengthy investigation, the physician’s license was suspended indefinitely.  

The Minnesota physician is certainly not the only doctor who has faced discipline for improper prescription of narcotics. Between 2011 and 2015, the state medical board disciplined 25 physicians in similar cases. Records of such discipline are publicly available, and it would be interesting to see what action was taken in each case.

Different physicians, of course, have different approaches when it comes to prescribing, and there is some room for differences of professional judgment in the prescription of opioid painkillers, at least to an extent. Physicians who come under professional scrutiny for their approach should work with an experienced legal advocate when such scrutiny could negatively impact their ability to practice medicine. 

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