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West Virginia Gov. Justice’s bill would limit opioid prescribing, could penalize doctors


Charleston Gazette-Mail

The proposed pain-pill prescription limit would not apply to cancer and hospice patients.
(AP file photo)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State lawmakers got their first glimpse at Gov. Jim Justice’s legislation to combat the opioid epidemic in West Virginia Tuesday, giving the bill high marks but cautioning that it could penalize honest doctors.

The bill, which aims to reduce the number of pain pills prescribed, would allow medical licensing boards to more quickly suspend doctors if their prescriptions appear “abnormal or unusual.” The state Board of Pharmacy would flag the suspect prescriptions.

“We have to be careful that we don’t cast too wide a net,” said Matt Walker, who represents primary care doctors.

The Senate Health Committee reviewed the governor’s bill (Senate Bill 273) Tuesday, but lawmakers took no action.

The legislation — called the Opioid Reduction Act — would limit initial prescriptions from doctors to a seven-day supply for short-term pain. Hospital emergency room patients would be restricted to a three-day supply.

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