New Data Shows Physicians in Pa. Continue to Write Fewer Opioid Prescriptions

Last Updated: Aug 3, 2020

Data from the American Medical Association (AMA) showed Pennsylvania physicians wrote fewer opioid prescriptions for the fifth straight year in 2019.
In its annual opioid progress report, the AMA showed state-by-state figures for prescriptions written, as well as the number of prescribers who have registered for and queried their state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP).
It showed that Pennsylvania prescribers, including physicians, wrote 10.9 percent fewer opioid prescriptions in 2019 than the previous year. Since 2014, physicians in the keystone state have written 43.3 percent few prescriptions.

See state by state opioid prescriptions 
Pennsylvania passed a law that strengthened its PDMP in late 2016 and requires physicians to register. 
  • The number of queries for Pennsylvania’s PDMP rose from 17,290,297 in 2018 to 23,125,065 in 2019 – a 33.5 percent increase. 
  • The number of prescribers who registered for Pennsylvania’s PDMP rose 21.5 in 2019 (from 99,196 to 120,504).
See state by state PDMP figures

Even though physicians have decreased prescribing of opioid analgesics, patients in Pennsylvania and throughout the U.S. continue to face a drug overdose epidemic that is fueled by illicit drugs, including fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and drug combinations.
The AMA and Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) continue to urge federal and state policymakers to take meaningful action to remove barriers and increase patients’ access to evidence-based care. Here are steps outlined by the AMA in its annual report:
  1. Remove prior authorization for FDA-approved medications used as part of medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.
  2. Support assessment, referral and treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders as well as enforce state and federal mental health and substance use disorder parity laws.
  3. Remove administrative and other barriers to comprehensive, multi-modal, multidisciplinary pain care and rehabilitation programs.
  4. Support maternal and child health by increasing access to evidence-based treatment, preserving families, and ensuring that policies are nonpunitive.

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