Consumer Watchdog Campaign: U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services Officials Call For Random Drug Testing Of Doctors

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Santa Monica, CA – Officials with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services called for random drug testing of doctors in an opinion piece in the New York Times Thursday. The first law in the nation requiring random drug testing of physicians will be considered by California voters as part of a patient safety initiative headed for the November ballot. Read the New York Times op-ed here:

HHS inspector general Daniel R. Levinson and special agent Erika T. Broadhurst argued that doctors should be randomly drug tested in the op-ed about a medical technician addicted to prescription drugs who infected patients with Hepatitis C after injecting himself with their painkiller syringes.

"Drug and alcohol testing is overdue in California where 18% of doctors will have a substance abuse problem during their careers. Airline pilots, bus drivers, ship captains, and almost every other safety-sensitive job gets drug tested.  It's time doctors were held to the same safety standards," said Carmen Balber with Consumer Watchdog Campaign.

Next week, Bob Pack will begin turning in 830,000 signatures to qualify the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act for this November’s statewide ballot in California, including the random drug testing provision. Mr. Pack lost his two young children, Troy and Alana, to a drugged driver who was overprescribed narcotics by multiple doctors at the same Kaiser hospital.

The California Medical Board has estimated that 18% of doctors in the state will have a drug or alcohol problem over the course of their careers.  

The Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act would:
•    Index for inflation the medical negligence damage cap set by the legislature in California in 1975
•    Require random drug and alcohol testing of doctors, and testing after an adverse event in a hospital
•    Require physicians to report suspected drug or alcohol abuse at work by a colleague
•    Mandate that physicians check the state’s prescription drug database before prescribing narcotics and other addictive drugs to first-time patients

Learn more about the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act ballot measure at

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Carmen Balber
Carmen Balber
Consumer Watchdog executive director Carmen Balber has been with the organization for nearly two decades. She spent four years directing the group’s Washington, D.C. office where she advocated for key health insurance market reforms that were ultimately enacted into law as part of the Affordable Care Act.

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