Thursday, September 22, 2022
Rothstein et al. on Ruan v US
Mark A. Rothstein, Mary Dyche and Julia Irzyk (University of Louisville - Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy, and Law, O'Bryan Brown & Toner and Independent) have posted Doctors and Pain Patients Avoid 'Ruan' in the Supreme Court (Forthcoming in the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, vol. 50, no. 4 (2022)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Physicians’ fear of criminal prosecution for prescribing opioid analgesics is a major reason why many chronic pain patients are having an increasingly difficult time obtaining medically appropriate pain relief. In Ruan v. United States, 142 S. Ct. 2370 (2022), the Supreme Court unanimously vacated two federal convictions under the Controlled Substances Act. The lead opinion held that once a defendant produces evidence that his or her conduct as a licensed professional was “authorized,” the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly or intentionally acted in an unauthorized manner. Although federal convictions of physicians are less likely under this holding, it is not clear whether it will lessen the fears of physicians and result in greater access to appropriate pain management.