The AAMC May 4 submitted a comment letter in response to the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) proposed changes to Controlled Substances Quotas. The proposal seeks to limit diversion of controlled substances for unapproved or illegal uses by preventing their accumulation in amounts exceeding legitimate need.
In its letter, the AAMC agrees that addressing this crisis requires a multi-pronged approach to decrease drug abuse and diversion, and the association acknowledges that setting quotas for the production of opioid medicines can be an effective part of that strategy. However, the AAMC urges the DEA to remember that opioids are also an important part of treatment regimens for controlling acute and chronic pain in a variety of patients – including trauma, post-operative, and advanced stage cancer patients – and any limits on quotas should not negatively impact access for patients that have a legitimate and critical need for these medications.
Additionally, hospitals and health systems continue to experience critical shortages of a number of injectable opioid medications due to a slowdown in production and a component problem at a major manufacturing facility. The shortage of these products is not expected to fully resolve until mid-2019. As the DEA considers limits on production quotas, the AAMC urges the DEA to take steps to ensure current drug shortages are alleviated as appropriate to guarantee a sufficient supply of opioid medications for legitimate needs.