Last Updated: Dec 4, 2019
Legislation to regulate the use of opioid patient treatment agreements by prescribers who treat chronic pain patients has been signed into law.
The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Ryan Aument, was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf on Nov. 27, 2019. The new law, known as Act 112 of 2019, took immediate effect.
The law requires prescribers to enter into an opioid patient treatment agreement before issuing the first prescription in a single course of treatment for chronic pain using any opioid-containing medication, regardless of whether the dosage is modified during treatment.
Keep in mind that the law:
- Applies to agreements for patients with chronic pain. It is not intended to be applied in situations involving acute pain (i.e. pain that comes on quickly, may be severe, but lasts a relatively short time and is provoked by a specific condition or injury.)
- Applies specifically to opioid prescriptions. It does not apply to non-opioid Schedule II drugs.
The Pennsylvania Medical Society’s (PAMED) Quick Consult fact sheet answers frequently asked questions about the law. Find details on issues such as:
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- What the agreement form must include
- Drug testing requirements
- Exceptions to the law
Prior to the law’s passage, PAMED did share our opposition to the bill with legislators. While we support initiatives to combat the opioid crisis, we did not support the imposition of mandates on the prescriber-patient relationship.
We will continue to work with the Department of Health and other stakeholders in efforts such as developing the state’s voluntary opioid prescribing guidelines. We look forward to future opportunities for collaboration.
Several Pennsylvania laws concerning opioid prescribing limits, safe opioid prescribing education, and prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) requirements took effect in 2016 and 2017. For information about these laws and how to comply with their requirements, check out PAMED’s Quick Consult “A Physician’s Guide to Pennsylvania’s Opioid Laws” here.
PAMED members with questions about the state's opioid laws can contact our Knowledge Center at 855-PAMED4U (855-726-3348) or KnowledgeCenter@pamedsoc.org.