DEA Reduces Amount of Opioid Controlled Substances in 2017

Released: 11/11/2016   By: Heidi Dufrene, PharmD

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has published a Final Order on its website stating it will be reducing the amount of opioid medications that may be manufactured in the United States in 2017 by 25%. The manufacturing of certain opioid medications, such as hydrocodone, will be decreased to 66% of last year’s level. The Final Order establishes the total amount of a controlled substance necessary to meet the estimated medical, scientific, research, industrial, and export needs for the year and for the maintenance of reserve stocks which is known as the Aggregate Production Quota (APQ). The DEA states that this reduction is mostly due to the elimination of a 25% buffer that was added yearly from 2013 to 2016 to ensure against shortages. The 2017 decrease is not expected to lead to drug shortages.
The reasoning behind this decrease is that the demand for opioid medications has decreased according to sales data obtained by the DEA. This decrease may be due in part to guidelines issued earlier this year by the CDC recommending practitioners reduce prescribing opioid medications for chronic pain where appropriate.
At Carlisle Medical, we strive to monitor state and federal guidelines for opioid prescribing and our staff of pharmacists stays abreast of medication and industry changes. We are always available to recommend alternative medications which may be presented to the prescribing physician by our in house clinical staff, which includes nurses and consulting physicians, as part of our managed care services.