Mark Armstrong, a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice, in the Houston office, was quoted in an article titled "Should States Limit Access to FDA-Approved Opioids?"

Following is an excerpt:

Mark S. Armstrong, a member of Epstein Becker Green who represents providers, practitioners, managed care organizations, and other participants in the pharmaceutical industry, says that states cannot regulate opioids or other dangerous drugs directly, but they can regulate the actions of practitioners and providers. For example, they can require that prescriptions be in writing, limit the supply that may dispensed, or prohibit phone-in and fax prescriptions. They also can require prescribers and pharmacists to register with state prescription drug monitoring systems and to report to and check with those programs.

Are these efforts effective? "It's too early to tell," Armstrong says. "States may place reasonable restrictions on physicians" who prescribe controlled substances, but the use of this form of regulation to limit access to specific opioids is new.

Only a few states require prescribers or dispensers to follow an assessment protocol or check a prescription drug monitoring database before prescribing drugs that are commonly abused.

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