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840,000 Signatures To Be Filed Statewide Today To Qualify CA Patient Safety Ballot Measure Targeting Doctor Drug Testing, Overprescribing And Medical Negligence, Says Consumer Watchdog Campaign

NORWALK, Calif., March 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bob and Carmen Pack, whose young children died as a result of physician overprescribing will turn in 840,000 signatures by 3 pm today to qualify a landmark patient safety act for the November ballot.  Seven year old Alana and ten year old Troy were killed on a roadside by a doctor-shopping drug addict who ran them over after being overprescribed thousands of narcotics at Kaiser and falling asleep at the wheel.

"The Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act will save lives and prevent families across California from having to endure the tragedies ours have by creating accountability and transparency in medical care," said Bob Pack, the initiative's proponent, who joined with other victimized families at a press conference in Norwalk to announce the turn-in this morning. "Voters should have the right to enact the patient safety protections the legislature has denied them for decades, including protections from drug abusing, drug dealing, and dangerous doctors."

The Pack Act:

  • Mandates random drug testing of doctors to prevent physician substance abuse.
  • Requires that physicians use the state's existing prescription drug database, CURES, to curb doctor-shopping drug abusers (Bob Pack created the CURES database);
  • Promotes justice for patients and legal deterrence to wrongdoing by adjusting the state's malpractice cap to account for 38 years of inflation, while maintaining the existing cap on attorneys fees

Learn more at the http://www.packact.org

Joining the Packs were other family members who had suffered because of medical negligence, overprescribing and substance abuse by physicians.

The Pack Act indexes for inflation the 38 year old cap on malpractice recovery set at $250,000 for those without wage loss or medical bills, which the patients contend devalues the lives of children.  No matter how egregious the malpractice, the most a patient can recover when a child dies from negligence is $250,000, preventing attorneys from taking most of those cases and letting dangerous doctors continue to practice.

Tammy Smick, who lost her 20 year old son Alex to a lethal mix of prescription drugs administered in the hospital, said of the Pack Act, "Our son's life isn't worth $250,000 to us.  Alex was priceless"

Reports show that doctor-prescribed overdoses and physician substance abuse are growing crises.

  • One in six physician disciplinary actions taken by the California Medical Board during the past decade were for physician-substance abuse or physician- overprescribing.
  • The California Medical Board reports that 18% of doctors will have a substance abuse problem during their career.
  • The Inspector General of the US Department of Health and Human Services recently called for physician-drug testing in a New York Times op-ed based on scandals nationwide.
  • The Journal of the American Medical Association reported recently that physicians are the biggest suppliers of chronic prescription drug abusers.

"Doctor drug testing will become a standard all across America, just as it already is for pilots, after California voters enact it in November," said Jamie Court of Consumer Watchdog Campaign.  "Intoxicated and drug-dealing doctors cause harm, and the Pack Act's inflation adjustment of the state's 38 year old malpractice cap means families will have access to justice if their loved ones are injured or killed by these or other negligent doctors."

For more information about the issues and families involved in today's filing, visit www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/mar24flyer.pdf and  www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/physiciansubstanceabuse.pdf.

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog Campaign

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