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NJ Client ALERT: Gabapentin Prescribing Receiving Higher Scrutiny Under New Evidence of Abuse

On May 7, 2018, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs began requiring pharmacies begin reporting prescriptions for the unscheduled drug gabapentin to the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). The drug, known under brand names Neurontin and Gralise, is currently unscheduled. However Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia have all reclassified gabapentin as Schedule V, while other states are currently debating whether to schedule gabapentin as well.

It has been reported that New Jersey is beginning to utilize the PMP to scrutinize the prescribing of gabapentin. This move comes amid a 49% spike in gabapentin prescriptions since 2016.

New Jersey’s Board of Medical Examiners (Board) has taken severe, and what some would call “extreme,” measures in cracking down on physicians it believed were not complying with proper opioid prescribing protocols. These measures led to many doctors being suspended from the practice of medicine, losing their CDS license and, in extreme cases, even permanently losing their medical licenses.

It appears that the Board is now shifting its focus on another drug that physicians rely on when treating pain disorders. New Jersey doctors should not be caught flat footed when the Board starts cracking down on gabapentin.

Physicians prescribing gabapentin must ensure their practices comply with all applicable laws and regulations on prescribing, despite the fact that gabapentin is currently an unscheduled drug. Physicians who prescribe gabapentin for pain disorders should take steps immediately to protect their license and their practice.

Frier Levitt can review your practice’s prescribing policies and procedures and help prepare a prescribing compliance plan that protects your practice and its providers. Contact Frier Levitt today to speak with an attorney.