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Effort to combat opioid abuse OK'd by House panel

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A comprehensive bipartisan measure designed to decrease opioid abuse and overdoses has been changed but still has cleared a House panel.

The bill approved unanimously Wednesday by the House Health Committee still requires pharmacists to more quickly enter prescription information into a controlled substances database. Doctors would have to review system data to examine a patient's history to prevent overprescribing and also would be limited to giving 5- or 7-day supplies for initial treatment of acute pain.

The measure was amended to remove proposed $20 annual fees on doctors to keep up the system and reduce maximum fines against pharmacist who don't report required information in time. And most doctors' practices now would have until 2020 to prescribe certain controlled substances electronically.

The bill now heads to another House committee.

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