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Bill would expand authority to prescribe meds

Posted: 4:46 PM, Feb 29, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-29 19:31:04-05

You could soon have more health experts to turn to for prescriptions.

A bill has already passed through committees in the state Senate and House that would allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to write prescriptions for controlled substances. 

Narcotics like Oxycontin and Oxycodone are drugs physician assistant at Moffitt Cancer Center Sam Vafadar knows all about, but it stops there. 

 

"A lot of those medications unfortunately I can’t prescribe I have to hunt down a physician," Vafadar said.  “It’s very frustrating, it’s heartbreaking to me.”

 

That's likely to change. 

 

“There’s a very good chance this will be passed and Florida will join nearly all of the rest of the states," said Jay Wolfson, associate vice president of USF Health. 

 

Wolfson said it's time PA's and NP's share in this responsibility, also preventing abuse. 

 

“We are, as you know, the world’s center of abuse for those drugs, so whoever is prescribing them has to be carefully educated and the prescription of all of those drugs should be carefully monitored," Wolfson said. 

 

Vafadar said if this becomes law he'll be equipped to help his lung cancer patients manage their pain on the spot. That's something he can't always do. 

 

“We do what we can to get this prescription signed and in the hands of the patient who needs it but many times my hands are unfortunately tied," Vafadar said. 

 

This bill should go to the floor of both chambers in the next few weeks.