A leading advocate of Kentucky's new prescription pill law says he's ready to listen to doctors who want to change it. Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has made fighting prescription pill abuse one of his top priorities. Earlier this year, he was a leading supporter of House Bill 1, which mandates that most doctors use the KASPER pill tracking system.
Several doctors have complained that having to put every patient into the KASPER system is burdensome. And Conway says he's willing to loosen some restrictions to help the medical community.
“I do think that that first part of the bill that mandates use of KASPER is a little bit strong, probably a little bit strong and maybe we need more exceptions,” he says.
Conway wasn’t specific which types of doctors should get exemptions, but noted that he believes the majority of doctors need to use the KASPER system. He also said he will not support loosening any portions of the law that crack down on so-called pill mills, where many prescription abusers get their drugs.
The Kentucky Medical Association has fought HB1 relentlessly since its conception, but could not prevail in watering the law down while it was still being debated. They have since reported to various legislative committees about the problems the new law and its mandatory KASPER reporting causes them.
Supporters of the law have dismissed the doctors claims or refuted stories about how the new law is preventing prescriptions from being written.
Conway says if the medical community is willing to have a reasonable discussion on the law, he believes its supporters will work with them.
“Rather than trying to kill a bill, or trying to turn a blind eye to a problem that’s keeping Kentucky from being all that it can be, the KMA and its leadership need to come forward and say 'Let’s sit down, we recognize there is a problem, we want to be part of the solution rather than standing in the way.' If they are just going to come to hearings and scream that’s it too much work for them I don’t think it’s going to do them any good,” Conway says.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, the author of the law, says lawmakers will determine whether any changes are needed.