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Consumer Watchdog Calls For Political Response To Physician Drug Abuse Scandal, Including Mandatory Drug Testing for High Risk Doctors Across California
Date:2/6/2013

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Leading consumer advocates today called upon the legislature to hold hearings and investigate strong new laws in response to recent Los Angeles Times reports on widespread drug overdoses due to physician overprescribing and the recent case of a convicted methamphetamine-using drug-dealing doctor who will be treating patients again within a year.

Consumer Watchdog asked the Governor and legislative leaders in a letter to consider random drug testing of physicians.  The advocates, who have already qualified one initiative measure for the next ballot to regulate health insurance rates, said that voters would not tolerate legislative inaction. Read the full letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrcw2-6-13.pdf

The recent Los Angeles Times series, which uncovered 71 physicians whose prescriptions have led to three or more deaths, and the decision Friday by the state medical board to allow Dr. Nathan Kuemmerle to treat patients again after pleading guilty to felony drug dealing, prompted Consumer Watchdog to call for hearings and legislative action. 

"The recent investigation and past decades of experience show that patients are not safe from drug using and drug dealing doctors," wrote Consumer Watchdog's Jamie Court and Carmen Balber . "One in ten physicians develop problems with drugs or alcohol over the course of their careers, yet continue to practice medicine. These physicians hold the lives of patients in their hands every day.

"Pilots must undergo mandatory random drug testing because they hold the lives of so many passengers in their hands. Physicians who operate on patients and are in a position to overprescribe or use narcotics themselves should un
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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
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