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CLSA Wire

Drumbeat in Sacramento on Opioids Continues to Grow Louder
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Feb. 13, 2018
By Brett Johnson

Following the Feb. 16 deadline for submitting new legislation to be considered for enactment this year, CLSA expects to see more than a dozen bills related to opioids when the dust settles. The ultimate number of bills dealing with the subject will not be apparent immediately, as many are introduced in a generic format, which is called a “spot bill,” and later amended with more specific language.

As discussed in last month’s bulletin, only a handful of opioid-related bills were introduced prior to the Feb. 16 bill introduction deadline. Though most of those bills dealt with monitoring prescriptions and other largely administrative issues for prescribers, one such recently introduced bill has CLSA concerned.

Assembly Bill 1998, introduced by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona), would severely limit a prescriber’s ability to prescribe “an opioid in an amount greater than that the patient needs for a 3-day period,” requiring an extensive demonstration of need and informed consent by the prescriber for amounts beyond the 3-day period.  It would also restrict a prescriber’s ability to dispense a 72-hour supply of a Schedule II controlled substance from a common stock. In addition to AB 1998’s 3-day limit on opioid prescriptions, CLSA anticipates bills being introduced with some form of 5-day and 7-day limits on opioid prescriptions as well.

Also of note, on Feb. 6, the Assembly Business and Professions Committee held a hearing on California’s monitoring system for opioid prescriptions – the latest in a number of hearings in Sacramento related to opioids. The background paper for the hearing can be found here. This monitoring system, the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES), is seen by several legislators as a central component to combating opioid abuse and addiction in California. Several bills have already been introduced, including those discussed in last month’s bulletin, focused on strengthening CURES.

CLSA will continue closely monitoring legislation as bills begin to pour in with the Feb. 16 introduction deadline. CLSA will be determining policy positions on all newly introduced legislation, including that related to opioids, at the end of this month. Any members who would like further information on the bills discussed here or anything else happening in Sacramento are encouraged to reach out to Oliver Rocroi (orocroi@califesciences.org) or Brett Johnson (bjohnson@califesciences.org).