Nova Scotia doctors probed for unusual prescribing of opioids

The Canadian Press
November 28, 2016
Written by The Canadian Press
HALIFAX – Ten Nova Scotia doctors are being investigated for irregularities in their prescribing practices for highly addictive opioids.

The complaints forwarded by the province's prescription monitoring system to the College of Physicians and Surgeons occurred from Jan. 1, 2015, until last week and include problems with prescribing painkillers ranging from fentanyl to oxycodone.

Mike Flynn, director of the program, declined to provide details other than a general statement that complaints are based both on reports from the public and a "risk scoring report" from a database that monitors doctors' prescribing practices.

The "risk scoring report" system was launched in 2015, and Flynn says in an email there have been more reviews since that system came into being.

For the first three months of this year the province has documented 4,064 patients – whose pain is caused by conditions other than cancer – who are being prescribed dosages considered to be above the "best practice" guidelines from the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Nova Scotia college passed a motion this year stating it is "best practice" to follow the U.S. centres' advice to avoid doses equal to or in excess of 90 milligrams daily, except in some cases of cancer and end-of-life pain.

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