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Comment & Response |

Protection of Patients From Physician Substance Misuse

Jeffrey Selzer, MD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1New York State Committee for Physician Health, Albany
JAMA. 2013;310(13):1403. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.277963.
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To the Editor Dr Pham and colleagues1 proposed preemployment, random, and postincident drug testing as important measures to identify physician impairment and possibly reduce patient harm. The evidence that drug testing improves workplace functioning is weak,2 and its failure to deliver promised benefits may account for its declining use by US companies.3 Furthermore, urine toxicology testing typically measures metabolites present for an average of 48 hours or longer. The results may therefore be uninformative at best and misinformative at worst about whether a physician is impaired or even affected by a drug at the time when the sample is collected.

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October 2, 2013
Julius Cuong Pham, MD, PhD; Peter J. Pronovost, MD, PhD; Gregory E. Skipper, MD
1Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
2Professional Health Services, Promises Treatment Centers, Santa Monica, California
JAMA. 2013;310(13):1403-1404. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.277978.
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