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Pharmaceutical Industry Backs 7-Day Limit On Opioids

Pharmacy Technician amongst two shelves of prescription pills.
Daylina Miller/Health News Florida
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

As Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders start to move forward with plans to address the state's opioid epidemic, a major pharmaceutical-industry group said Wednesday it would support a seven-day limit on initial prescriptions of pain medications.

Scott said Tuesday he will seek a change in state law that would place a three-day limit on opioid prescriptions, though the prescriptions could be up to seven days under some conditions.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran's office said the proposal would apply to initial prescriptions of drugs such as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin.

While not limited to Florida, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America announced Wednesday that it would support seven-day limits on initial supplies of “acute pain” opioid prescriptions, with doctors able to deviate in certain circumstances such as when treating cancer-related pain or when providing hospice care.

“We are taking this step because we believe the worsening opioid epidemic demands additional solutions, with new protections for patients,” Stephen J. Ubl, president & CEO of the industry group, said in a prepared statement. “Too often, individuals receive a 30-day supply of opioid medicines for minor treatments or short-term pain. Overprescribing and dispensing can lead to patients taking opioids longer than necessary or to excess pills falling into the wrong hands.”

The proposals announced Tuesday by Scott, including spending $50 million on programs such as drug treatment, are expected to be debated during the 2018 legislative session, which starts in January.