Tag Archives: prescriptions

Franklin County Jumps Ahead of Legislature in Regulating Meth-Linked Drugs

Franklin County has moved ahead of the Legislature by adoption of local ordinances to require a prescription for cold medications containing pseudoephedrine, reports the Chattanooga TFP. The General Assembly has debated the idea, but has not enacted it (though Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey recently said he expects a “huge push” in next year’s session, HERE)
Cowan, Decherd and Estill Springs are the remaining municipalities in the county set to pass new rules on pseudoephedrine-based cold medicines as law enforcement takes a new step in the battle against methamphetamine.
Pseudoephedrine is the primary ingredient in meth production.
“The only way it’s going to be successful is if the entire region does this,” Winchester police Chief Dennis Young said. The new, countywide rules will be a first among Tennessee counties.
Young said officials from Franklin County are meeting with neighboring counties, Grundy County being the next stop over the next few days.
…”Tennessee this year is reclaiming No. 1 in the nation in the production of meth,” Young said. Missouri was the top-ranking state, but more than 70 cities in Southern Missouri implemented regulations similar to those being pursued in Franklin County.
“This dramatically reduced their meth labs,” Franklin County Sheriff Tim Fuller said.
“Our Legislature is having a problem getting a law passed, so we’re taking baby steps to do what we need to do here.”
Current Tennessee law restricts the sale of pseudoephedrine-based cold medicines by placing them behind the counter. Buyers must present a valid ID and sign a log for products containing the precursor.
“We’re not making it a controlled substance,” Fuller said. “The state of Tennessee has already said that it can be sold with a prescription, and, if you sell it without a prescription, the statutes say that there are guidelines on how it can be sold.”
Local rules fit those guidelines, he said.

Ramsey Predicts ‘Huge Push’ on Pseudoephedrine Prescriptions

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, speaking to a group of Northeast Tennessee realtors, predicted there will be a “huge push” next year to require nasal decongestant medicines like Sudafed to be prescription only, reports Hank Hayes.
“That’s going to be tough,” Ramsey, R-Blountville, said. “That’s pushing government down on the people. All of us are going to have to balance that with what’s best for society.”
Medicine that contains pseudoephedrine — such as Sudafed, Actifed, Contac and Claritin-D — currently can only be sold in pharmacies and must be kept behind the counter in Tennessee.
Buying those drugs requires a customer to present photo identification to a store employee and then sign for the purchase.
The customer’s personal information is then entered into a government database meant to prevent an individual from purchasing more than nine grams of pseudoephedrine — about three boxes — in a 30-day span.
Still, that 2011 law apparently hasn’t reduced using pseudoephedrine as a meth production ingredient, Ramsey said.
“We have a real, real drug problem in Tennessee,” Ramsey said. “When I hear employers say they interviewed 100 people for jobs and only 15 passed a drug test, we have a problem.”
State Rep. David Hawk, one of the lawmakers at the NETAR luncheon, introduced legislation in the last session to require pseudoephedrine products to be maintained “in the same manner as other controlled substances.” Action on the bill was deferred to next year.
“We need to go further,” Hawk, R-Greeneville, said. “We’re investing too much money in jails.”

TennCare’s Top Ten List of Drug Prescribers Reduced by Three

Three of TennCare’s top 10 prescribers of commonly abused mental health and pain drugs – a physician, a physician’s assistant and an advanced practice nurse — have been blocked from filling prescriptions through the state’s health-care program for the poor and uninsured, reports The Tennessean.
In a 22-page letter and report to a U.S. senator investigating the over-prescribing of prescription drugs in the federal Medicaid program, TennCare Director Darin Gordon outlined the steps under way to cut down on fraud and abuse, including blocking the three prescribers.
“We agree that inappropriate prescribing is a serious problem that can result in patient safety concerns and increased costs to the healthcare system,” Gordon wrote in the March letter to U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. “For this reason, TennCare has invested a great deal of effort to develop a multi-faceted approach to ensure that medications are used appropriately within our program.”
The letter came in response to Grassley’s request in January for additional information on how Tennessee monitors and investigates fraud and abuse. Grassley sought answers to a dozen questions after Tennessee reported the top 10 prescribers of eight antipsychotic and pain medications.
…The three (prescribers) are not named in the letter to Grassley, but a TennCare spokeswoman released the names upon request Wednesday.
The three — a physician, a physician’s assistant and an advanced practice nurse — are all from East Tennessee. Dr. Allen R. Foster and nurse Maimoune Wright have faced disciplinary action for over-prescribing drugs, according to the Board of Medical Examiners.
Foster is serving one year in prison after being sentenced last summer for health-care fraud and failure to file tax returns. His license has been revoked. Wright is awaiting federal trial on a charge of conspiracy to distribute prescription drugs. Her license has been suspended.
Wright could not be reached for comment. Her business listing was disconnected, and her home phone number is unlisted. The physician’s assistant named by the state, Thomas Esser, has not been disciplined. His home and business numbers were disconnected