Ron Paul
2004 Ron Paul Chapter 46

Ron Paul Stop Prosecuting Doctors For Prescribing Legal Drugs

7 July 2004

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Stop Prosecuting Doctors For Prescribing Legal Drugs
7 July 2004

2004 Ron Paul 46:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, what this amendment does is it denies funding to the Department of Justice to prosecute doctors for prescribing legal drugs.

2004 Ron Paul 46:2
The reason I bring this up is to call attention to the Members of a growing and difficult problem developing in this country, and that is, that more and more doctors now are being prosecuted by the Justice Department under the laws that were designated for going after drug kingpins, for illegal drug dealers; but they are using the same laws to go after doctors.

2004 Ron Paul 46:3
It is not one or two or three or four. There are approximately 400 doctors who have been prosecuted, and I know some of them, and I know they are good physicians; and we are creating a monster of a problem. It does not mean that I believe that none of these doctors have a problem. As a physician, I know what they are up against and what they face, and that is, that we have now created a system where a Federal bureaucrat makes the medical decision about whether or not a doctor has prescribed too many pain pills. I mean, that is how bureaucratic we have become even in medicine; but under these same laws that should be used going after kingpins, they are now being used to go after the doctors.

2004 Ron Paul 46:4
As I say, some of them may well be involved in something illegal and unethical; and because I still want to stop this, this does not mean I endorse it, because all the problems that do exist with some doctors can be taken care of in many different ways. Doctors are regulated by their reputation, by medical boards, State and local laws, as well as malpractice suits. So this is not to give license and say the doctors can do anything they want and cause abuse because there are ways of monitoring physicians; but what has happened is we have, as a Congress, developed a great atmosphere of fear among the doctors.

2004 Ron Paul 46:5
The American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, a large group of physicians in this country, has now advised their members not to use any opiates for pain, not to give adequate pain pills because the danger of facing prosecution is so great. So the very people in the medical profession who face the toughest cases, those individuals with cancer who do not need a couple of Tylenol, they might need literally dozens, if not hundreds, of tablets to control their pain, these doctors are being prosecuted.

2004 Ron Paul 46:6
Now, that is a travesty in itself; but the real travesty is what it does to the other physicians, and what it is doing is making everybody fearful. The other doctors are frightened. Nurses are too frightened to give adequate pain medications even in the hospitals because of this atmosphere.

2004 Ron Paul 46:7
My suggestion here is to deny the funding to the Justice Department to prosecute these modest numbers, 3 or 400 doctors, leave that monitoring to the States where it should be in the first place, and let us get rid of this idea that some bureaucrat in Washington can determine how many pain pills I, as a physician, can give a patient that may be suffering from cancer.

2004 Ron Paul 46:8
I mean, this is something anyone who has any compassion, any concern, any humanitarian instincts would say we have gone astray; we have done too much harm; we have to do something to allow doctors to practice medicine. It was never intended that the Federal Government, let alone bureaucrats, interfere in the practice of medicine.

2004 Ron Paul 46:9
So my suggestion is let us take it away, take away the funding of the Justice Department to prosecute these cases, and I think it would go a long way to improving the care of medicine. At the same time, it would be a much fairer approach to the physicians that are now being prosecuted unfairly.

2004 Ron Paul 46:10
And let me tell you, there are plenty, because all they have to do is to be reported that they prescribed an unusual number of tablets for a certain patient, and before you know it, they are intimidated, their license is threatened, their lives are ruined, they spend millions of dollars in defense of their case, and they cannot ever recover. And it is all because we here in the Congress write these regulations, all with good intentions that we are going to make sure there is no abuse.

2004 Ron Paul 46:11
Well, there is always going to be some abuse. But I tell you there is a lot better way to find abusive doctors from issuing pain medication than up here destroying the practice of medicine and making sure thousands of patients suffering from the pain of cancer do not get adequate pain medication.

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