Brown’s Safe Emergency Prescribing Act Passes House
HARRISBURG – In a continued effort to fight against opioid abuse in Pennsylvania, Rep. Rosemary M. Brown (R-Monroe/Pike) is sponsoring the Safe Emergency Prescribing Act, which seeks to regulate the prescribing of controlled substances in hospital emergency departments and urgent care centers.  House Bill 1699 passed the House on Thursday.  
“This legislation is also aimed at fostering a strong medical referral system so that patients who have been prescribed opioids for a medical condition in an emergency room or urgent care center are referred to the appropriate doctor who can monitor his or her usage,” Brown said. “Emergency rooms are not where long-term medical relationships between doctors and patients should be established with highly dangerous drugs such as opioids. With the crisis we currently face, we need to take every measure to prevent addiction as well as excessive pills being sold on the street.”

The Pennsylvania Medical Society, in collaboration with the PA Department of Health and the PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, adopted new guidelines for pain treatment in emergency rooms. Brown introduced this legislation to codify the guidelines by placing a limit on the quantity of opioid drug products a health care practitioner can prescribe to a patient seeking treatment in an emergency room or urgent care center.
Under Brown’s bill, a health care practitioner is prohibited from prescribing more than seven days of an opioid drug product in an emergency department or urgent care center, unless more than a seven-day supply is required to treat an acute medical condition, or is necessary for the treatment of pain association with a cancer diagnosis or for palliative care.
Further, House Bill 1699 states that if a health care practitioner prescribes more than a seven-day supply under these exceptions, they would be required to document the condition triggering prescription of the opioid in the patient’s medical record, and must indicate that a non-opioid drug product alternative was not appropriate to treat the medical condition and the patient was provided with a pain management referral.  Refills would not be permitted and patients whose behavior raises a provider’s concern for addiction would be referred to treatment.
“Recent reports have shown that 20 percent to 30 percent of opioids prescribed for chronic pain are being misused, and approximately 5 million Americans are abusing prescription opioid pain relievers,” said Brown. “It is vital that we seek to ensure that patients suffering from chronic pain get the relief they need while also minimizing the potential of harmful consequences of addiction.”
House Bill 1699 is the result of recommendation of the Task Force on the Proliferation of Opioid Drugs, created by House Resolution 659 in 2014.
For more information about House Bill 1699, or any state-related issue, contact Brown’s district office in East Stroudsburg located at 143 Seven Bridge Road, by calling 570-420-8301.

Representative Rosemary M. Brown
189th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Krisinda Corbin /
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