Trump administration to let nearly all doctors prescribe buprenorphine – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-01-14 17:44:40 –

WThe Asington-Trump administration announced a major shift in addiction medicine policy on Thursday, dramatically giving doctors the flexibility to prescribe popular and effective drugs used to treat opioid use disorders.

This change will allow almost all doctors to prescribe the addiction drug buprenorphine, whether or not they are exempt from the government. Previously, doctors had to undergo eight hours of training and obtain a license called an “X-waiver” before prescribing buprenorphine. For years, addiction treatment proponents have argued that strict regulations on buprenorphine prevent thousands of doctors from providing quality addiction treatment.

This announcement represents a change in the sea of ​​addiction medicine on the final day of the Trump administration.


Some drug policymakers have long resisted deregulation of buprenorphine because of its status as a controlled drug. However, at a press conference Thursday, Health Secretary Brett Guilloyl told reporters that he had forced the administration to take action in light of recent rising levels of drug overdose, especially the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Many people will say this is overkill, but more will say this isn’t overkill enough,” Giroil said. “This is a measured, logical, appropriate, evidence-based, patient-centric intervention that can save tens of thousands of lives.”


The new policy will allow all physicians with a Drug Enforcement Administration prescribing license to treat up to 30 buprenorphine patients in the state. Hospital-based physicians are exempt from the 30-patient cap, and physicians can treat up to 275 patients with medication if trained and receive another exemption. It does not affect nurse practitioners or doctor assistants who need to apply for an individual exemption to obtain buprenorphine prescribing privileges.

Currently, only 66,000 doctors and another 25,000 prescribers like NP and PA have an X exemption, Giroir said.

Many researchers, doctors, advocates of addiction treatment, and members of the House of Representatives have long advocated eliminating the exemption and allowing doctors to prescribe buprenorphine like any other drug. One general argument: Physicians prescribing potentially addictive opioids should be allowed to treat occasional addictions.

The bill to eliminate the X exemption, submitted by Congressman Paul Tonko (DN.Y.) in 2019, had 117 co-sponsors of House, including 23 Republicans. Guilloil cited bipartisan support for buprenorphine deregulation, but admitted that Congress had not yet passed the bill. He said Covid-19 created an “urgent need.” That meant waiting was not an option.

Secretary of Health Alex Azar has implemented the new policy by issuing an update to the Practice Guidelines for Buprenorphine Treatment. The new guidelines are easy to undo, as they are not codified by new laws or federal regulations. However, the next Biden administration is sympathetic to change and is unlikely to reverse them. “I’m seriously skeptical of that,” Guilloil said.

This change represents one of the biggest addiction policy reviews of President Trump’s four-year term. It could also be the last major policy initiative implemented by Giroir, Hazard, and Jim Carroll, director of national drug policy. All of these will resign on January 20 with the inauguration of President Biden.

This move received immediate support from a doctor. In a statement, the American Medical Association praised the effort, estimating that more than two million Americans need treatment for opioid addiction, but few receive quality treatment. There is.

“AMA strongly supports today’s decision by HHS to allow physicians to prescribe highly effective drugs for the treatment of patients with opioid use disorders without exemption,” said the former president of the organization. Patrice Harris said in a statement. “Patients have a hard time finding a doctor who is authorized to prescribe buprenorphine. Troublesome regulations discourage doctors from being certified to prescribe it.”

Trump administration to let nearly all doctors prescribe buprenorphine Source link Trump administration to let nearly all doctors prescribe buprenorphine

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