Today, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers joined a bipartisan group of colleagues to introduce the Promoting Responsible Opioid Prescribing Act (H.R. 4499), also known as the PROP Act. This bill makes a technical modification to the Affordable Care Act to eliminate a potential penalty on physicians who refuse to overprescribe powerful painkillers.
“In order to beat back on the scourge of prescription drug abuse, we have to employ a multi-pronged, holistic approach – and the medical community has certainly got to be a part of the solution,” said U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (KY-5), Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse. “I believe that 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. I applaud Congressman Mooney for his leadership on this issue, and look forward to working with him to move the legislation forward.”
“Prescription drug abuse is wreaking havoc on families and communities in West Virginia and across our country. We have to fight back against this drug epidemic before it tears more lives apart,” said U.S. Rep. Alex X. Mooney (WV-2), original sponsor of the bill. “The PROP Act changes 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.”
“Around the country, families are losing loved ones to the devastating opioid epidemic that is sweeping across the nation. Far too many of those individuals struggling with opioid and heroin addiction first started after developing a dependence on prescription drugs. That’s why I’m a proud cosponsor of the PROP Act, which will help encourage doctors to use best-practices when prescribing medication, in order to prevent patients from starting on the dangerous path towards addiction. We must put an end to this epidemic once and for all; I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to come together and pass this important legislation without delay,” said Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02). Kuster is the co-founder of the Bipartisan Task Force to End the Heroin Epidemic, and she is working with stakeholders across the state of New Hampshire to tackle the epidemic in her home state.
"Opioid abuse is devastating young people and their families on a daily basis across our country. Over prescribing is one factor driving this epidemic and it is critical that prevailing pain management protocols acknowledge and address the carnage that is a byproduct of the current approach, ” said Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (MA-8). “Congressman Mooney’s bill will do that. The PROP Act is a common sense bill that will allow doctors to continue their important work serving their patients without leading to unnecessary over prescription of opioids.”
“We know that prescription pain killers can be a gateway for heroin, yet we have a healthcare system that incentivizes the over prescription of these very same opioids. In what world does this make sense? Each and every day I hear yet another devastating story about a life taken too soon because of heroin or prescription drug abuse. As a country, we must do more to ensure these men and women get the access to the care that is desperately needed, and this legislation is a positive step forward,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-13).
Overuse of narcotic pain medicine is one of the leading causes of opioid addiction. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), prescription and over the counter drugs are the most commonly abused substances in the US, other than marijuana. In fact, a 2014 survey of 420 members of the American Medical Association found that 85% of those surveyed believe that prescription drugs are overused in clinical practice. Additionally, the number of prescriptions for opioids soared from 76 million in 1991 to nearly 207 million in 2013.
The Promoting Responsible Opioid Prescribing Act, would remove a major source of pressure on doctors to prescribe narcotic pain medication. For more information on the PROP Act, follow this link.
Bipartisan Original Cosponsors: Annie Kuster (D-NH), Hal Rogers (R-KY), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Frank Guinta (R-NH), Tim Ryan (D-OH), and Barbara Comstock (R-VA).