Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., introduced H.R. 4499, also known as the Promoting Responsible Opioid Prescribing Act, Feb. 9.
The measure, also called the PROP Act for short, is a bipartisan effort that would make a technical modification to the Affordable Care Act to eliminate a potential penalty on physicians who refuse to over-prescribe opioid drugs.
Mooney said the Act would change current law “to help end the unnecessary overuse of prescription painkillers.”
“In doing so, this bill empowers doctors, not the federal government, to choose what is right for patients,” Mooney said in a news release.
Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., is co-founder and co-chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse. He said he believes the PROP Act “will help change both attitudes and prescribing practices among physicians.”
“By sending a signal that opiates are not necessarily our first line of defense against pain, the bill will help doctors make informed medical decisions while ensuring that patients receive the best quality of care,” Rogers said in a news release. “I applaud Congressman Mooney for his leadership on this issue, and look forward to working with him to move the legislation forward.”
Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are the most commonly abused substances in the U.S., other than marijuana, according to the National Institutes of Health. The number of opioid prescriptions went from 76 million in 1991 to nearly 207 million in 2013. According to the American Medical Association, 85 percent of 420 of its members who were surveyed in 2014 responded that they believed prescription drugs are overused in clinical practice.
Dr. Patricia Harris, AMA Board chairwoman-elect and head of the AMA Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse, said the bill is an “important contribution to the multi-pronged effort needed to end the epidemic of opioid misuse and deaths from overdose, a high priority for the American Medical Association.”
Cosponsors of the measure are: U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster, D-New Hampshire; Rogers; Stephen F. Lynch, D-Massachusetts; Frank Guinta, R-New Hampshire; Tim Ryan, D-Ohio; and Barbara Comstock, R-Virginia.