AMA: Opioid prescribing decreases for second consecutive year

Residency Program Insider, August 19, 2020

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According to the most recent progress report from the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Opioid Task Force, opioid prescribing decreased by 37.1% in 2019. To put that in perspective, 244.5 million opioid prescriptions were written in 2014; that number fell to 153.7 million in 2019. This is the second consecutive year to see a decrease.

Physicians also made 739 million queries to state prescription drug monitoring programs in 2019, an increase of 64.4%. Such programs allow physicians to track a patient’s history of opioid prescriptions.

However, there huge achievements are set against the grim reality that opioid overdoses reached an all-time high in 2019. The AMA estimates that more than two million Americans have an untreated substance use disorder.

“Physicians’ progress alone will not end the epidemic. Policymakers, health insurance companies, pharmacy chains and others must move beyond words; they must take meaningful action to remove barriers to evidence-based care,” says Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, chair of the AMA Opioid Task Force.

The AMA encourages policymakers and other key stakeholders to reduce burdensome requirements for prior authorization that delay or prevent evidence-based, medication-assisted treatments for substance use disorders.

Sources: Becker's Hospital Review and AMA

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