This bill would dictate that a physician prescribing opioids to a minor comply with conditions, including not prescribing more than a 5-day supply of an opioid medication to that minor in most circumstances. The bill would make a violation of the bill’s provisions unprofessional conduct and would subject the prescriber to discipline by the board charged with regulating his or her license.
AAP Positional Letter
May 10, 2018
The Honorable Ed Hernandez
Chair, Senate Health Committee
State Capitol, Room 2191
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: AB 2741 (Burke): Prescription drugs: opioid medications: minors
AAP-CA Position: Oppose
Dear Chair Hernandez:
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, respectfully opposes proposed legislation AB 2741 (Burke), which would dictate that a physician prescribing opioids to a minor comply with conditions, including not prescribing more than a 5-day supply of an opioid medication to that minor in most circumstances. The bill would make a violation of the bill’s provisions unprofessional conduct and would subject the prescriber to discipline by the board charged with regulating his or her license.
While the AAP-CA shares the author’s concern about ensuring appropriate prescribing when treating minor patients in order to reduce opioid abuse, AB 2741 is unnecessary, burdensome, and places the government between a patient and his or her physician.
AB 2741 would prohibit a physician from prescribing an opioid to a minor for more than 5 days in duration, except under very limited circumstances. The determination that a minor, regardless of diagnosis, injury or other circumstance, will almost never require more than 5 days’ worth of a classification of pain medications, is not data-driven, evidence-based, nor is it an appropriate determination for this bill to make. This bill would block the provider’s ability to determine the best course of treatment for their patient, given the unique characteristics of that individual.
The bill additionally requires a physician, prior to prescribing an opioid, to inform the patient of all the risks of opioid abuse. This is unnecessary, as physicians already must inform patients of all relevant information regarding their course of treatment, which is patient-specific. Further, the bill would put in place an automatic determination of unprofessional conduct for a physician who fails to discuss all elements of the “consultation” dictated in the bill, regardless of their applicability to the patient. This determination would be applicable independent of patient outcome, creating a whole new level of liability for physicians.
This bill attempts to legislate the practice of medicine without any evidence-based or data-driven methods, but instead by arbitrarily limiting the dosage allowed to be prescribed by a physician regardless of the patient’s needs.
AB 2741 (Burke), while well intended, stands to reduce the quality of care offered to California children.
Pediatrician members of AAP California Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 statewide urge you to vote NAY on AB 2741 (Burke).
Thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and wellbeing of children, youth, and families in California.
Chief Executive Officer, American Academy of Pediatrics, California
cc: Senate Health Committee Members
The Honorable Autumn Burke, Author
AAP-CA Leadership; Lobbyist Lydia Bourne