Anaheim, CA – Families of victims of prescription drug abuse, physician overprescribing, and medical malpractice called for mandatory drug testing of doctors today outside the California Medical Association’s convention at the Disneyland Hotel. The nonprofit, nonpartisan Consumer Watchdog group unveiled a mobile billboard truck showing "Pee In A Cup: The Musical, Part 1," the first in a series of musical videos pressing for mandatory doctor drug testing in California. Pilots, bus drivers and even Disney employees are required to undergo mandatory drug testing, yet doctors, who hold patients' lives in their hands, do not. A proposed ballot measure would require such testing.
Watch “Pee in A Cup: The Musical, Part 1” here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/pee
The video features a police officer, fireman and football player, all professions that are required to drug test, and stars “Dr. P. P.” who, like all physicians in California, does not undergo mandatory drug testing. It is the first in a series of 30-second videos that will be shown on a mobile billboard truck and released over the course of the weekend at the California Medical Association House of Delegates meeting at Disneyland. Portal A, a creative studio based in California, produced and will distribute the social videos for the web.
“Doctors are celebrating in fantasyland, but Disneyland is not the happiest place on earth for patients and their families who are at risk because California fails to hold overprescribing and drug abusing doctors accountable. Mandatory physician drug and alcohol testing, just like pilots, bus drivers and even athletes already undergo, is needed to catch dangerous doctors and keep California patients safe,” said Carmen Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog.
The California Medical Association weakened or killed a series of bills this year that would have increased protections against prescription drug abuse and overprescribing and strengthened accountability for dangerous doctors. The doctors’ lobby was responsible for deleting a provision from SB 809 that would have required physicians to check the state’s electronic prescribing database, CURES, for a patient’s prescription history before prescribing narcotics. SB 62, a bill to require coroners to report prescription drug overdose deaths to the Medical Board, was vetoed by the governor after a CMA lobbying push. SB 670 was gutted to eliminate provisions that gave the state Medical Board greater authority to impose temporary restrictions on physicians’ prescribing licenses when reckless or illegal prescribing practices pose a threat to patient health. SB 304 was meant to be the vehicle for broad reform of the doctor discipline system in California, but amendments backed by the medical establishment eliminated a key provision that would have moved all staff investigating dangerous doctors into the Department of Justice.
The families of drug abuse victims and medical negligence called on the physicians' lobby to support mandatory doctor drug testing and stronger patient safety laws. Alex Smick, twenty-year-old son of Tim and Tammy Smick of Downey, lost his life after failures by three doctors that ended in a lethal overdose administered by medical providers at the very facility Alex had entered to seek treatment for prescription drug dependence at an Orange County Hospital. Alejandra Gonzalez of La Puente lost her six-week-old daughter Mia when doctors failed to diagnose whooping cough in the middle of a whooping cough epidemic.
“We are experiencing a prescription drug problem that has been deemed a national epidemic. The medical community needs to step up and take responsibility for this problem as the only way these medications are made available is by the prescribing power of physicians. We lose a life every 19 minutes in this country. This fact alone is completely unacceptable,” said Natalie Costa, producer of the documentary film “Behind the Orange Curtain,” about the prescription drug abuse epidemic in Orange County.
In addition to mandatory physician drug and alcohol testing, the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act, an initiative measure proposed for the November 2014 ballot, would require doctors to report colleagues who are under the influence while on duty, check patient histories before prescribing narcotics to help identify drug abusers, and would update the state’s 38-year-old cap on malpractice victims’ recovery mandatory.
Consumer Watchdog released a list of the physicians who contributed to the opponents of the ballot measure. See the list here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/your-doctor-list
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