The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn

Medical licensing requirements re opioid prescriptions

If you're a licensed physician, surgeon, nurse midwife or practitioner in Pennsylvania, you obviously already successfully completed a certain amount of education according to the accepted standards and requirements in your particular field of study. However, even after you have secured gainful income as a licensed medical professional, there may be times when you wish to apply for additional privileges or permissions that allow you to perform a broader scope of duties on the job. For instance, you may want to seek medical licensing permission to write opioid prescriptions.

The medical licensing board in this state requires a certain amount of education to be completed within a year of issuance of prescriptive authority approval for any doctor, midwife, surgeon etc., who applied after July 1, 2017. That means if you are granted authority to prescribe or dispense opioids, you must complete four hours of education in a Board-approved program. Half of this education time is to be spent studying pain management as well as how to identify addiction, and the other half is dedicated to the practices of prescribing and dispensing opioids.

Not adhering to the strict regulations regarding prescribing and dispensing opioids can place a person's medical license at risk. There have been many doctors brought before administrative disciplinary boards after being accused of writing unnecessary prescriptions or committing errors that caused patients injury. In fact, some doctors have been implicated in deaths due to opioid overdoses.

Medical licensing requirements regarding opioids are meant to help keep patients as safe as possible. Most Pennsylvania medical professionals put forth every effort to follow the rules, complete necessary hours of education and remain focused and alert when prescribing or dispensing strong narcotic drugs that have the potential to cause addiction or lead to fatal overdose. If a problem arises, and a medical license is called into question, an experienced attorney can be a great asset to have on hand.

Source:, "State Board of Medicine", Accessed on Sept. 19, 2017

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