Pill-Mill Crackdown Hurting Patients With Legitimate Pain

Tuesday, February 16, 2016
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

Florida has been plagued for years with the reputation of being the "pill mill capital of the country." Lawmakers needed to do something about prescription painkiller abuse. But, the crackdown on pill mills has produced unintended consequences. Since 2011, there have been strict regulations on doctors and pharmacies when it comes to dispensing controlled substances. Click here to read about Attorney General of Florida Pam Bondi's Pill Mill Initiative.

Additionally, state and federal law enforcement authorities have acted to arrest and prosecute pharmacists and physicians involved in prescribing and dispensing pain medication.

Real Headache for Hurting Patients.

These challenges for pain patients come after federal and state officials acted to combat an epidemic of prescription drug abuse in Florida. While the concentrated effort has made a reduction in the number of deaths related to prescription drugs, patients who suffer from legitimate pain are often caught in the middle. According to the Orlando Sentinel, many pharmacists refuse to fill pain medicine prescriptions, which causes physicians to feel as though they are being second guessed. To read more from the Orlando Sentinel, click here.

Patients in legitimate pain often feel targeted and put on trial when trying to get pain medication. Many physicians have become too scared to write prescriptions for pain medications. When they do, many pharmacists either cannot or will not fill the prescriptions. Those who really need pain medications, for example terminally ill cancer patients, maybe forced to go without it.

Has It Gone Too Far?

Many doctors, pharmacists and patients are wondering if it has gone too far in the wrong direction. The pain is real. The prescriptions are legal. So, why can't patients get the medications that they need? The solution to this problem is not an easy task. To read a previous blog I wrote on the DEA crackdown, click here.

To read a prior blog I wrote on what physicians can do to avoid charges of being pill mill physicians, click here.


What do you think about the war on prescription drugs in Florida? Do you think the DEA has created a problem for patients in legitimate pain? As a pharmacist, how do you verify that prescriptions you receive are legitimate? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.

Contact a Health Law Attorney Experienced in DEA Cases.

The Health Law Firm represents pharmacists, pharmacies, physicians, nurses and other health providers in investigations, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, inspections and audits involving the DEA, Department of Health (DOH), and other law enforcement agencies.

If you are aware of an investigation of you or your practice, or if you have been contacted by the DEA or DOH, contact an experienced health law attorney immediately.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


Kam, Dara. "Pill-mill crackdown a pain for the catastrophically ill." Orlando Sentinel. (September 20, 2015). Print

Crawford, Heather. "Florida's pill mill crackdowns hurting those in real pain." First Coast News. (November 1, 2013). Web.

Swisher. Skylar. "Florida's pill mill crackdown makes getting meds difficult for 'legitimate pain' patients." Daytona Beach News Journal. (March 29, 2015). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: pill mill, doctor, pharmacist, defense attorney, pain management lawyer, license defense attorney, legal counsel, DEA defense attorney, board of medicine attorney, board of pharmacy attorney, Department of Health investigations, pain clinics, over prescribing, pain management, Florida prescription drug crackdown, Florida prescription drug abuse, prescription drug trafficking, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), DEA investigation, Health law, health law attorney, health care lawyer, The Health Law Firm

"The Health Law Firm" is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. - The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
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