Maryland Governor Larry Hogan proposed the "Prescriber Limits Act" yesterday that would limit the authority of doctors (and other providers) to prescribe opioid painkillers. The proposal would restrict doctors to prescribing only one week's supply. Exceptions are made for end-stage cancer patients.
While we can all agree that the opioid epidemic needs to be addressed, it concerns me that the government thinks simple solutions are the answer. Doctors, as a group, have certainly been complicit in their contribution to the epidemic, but allowing the government to micro-manage their behavior raises a lot of red flags. We rely on physicians for their medical judgement when we are sick and at our most vulnerable, as a society we ought to be giving their judgment the benefit of the doubt. There are ways to create disincentives to over-prescribe that do not go as far as flat out prohibitions.