New York Times (07/09/12) Meier, Barry
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) overrode an expert panel's recommendation in its decision not to require physicians to have special training before they could prescribe long-acting, addictive narcotic painkillers, but also mandated that drug manufacturers must underwrite the cost of voluntary programs designed to educate doctors on how best to use them. In introducing the plan, FDA commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg and White House drug policy adviser R. Gil Kerlikowske expressed hope that Congress would eventually pass a measure making physician training a requirement. Major physician organizations such as the American Medical Association have opposed the notion of mandatory training, arguing that the programs would be onerous and could reduce the number of pain-treating doctors. However, concerns are mounting that long-term use of narcotic drugs can cause various problems, such as increased falls and fractures in people over 70.