States crack down on prescription-drug "doctor shopping"

Mary Wisniewski of Reuters has an informative report on the state of prescription databases across states.  She writes, in part:

Forty-three states now have databases to keep track of who is getting prescriptions for powerful pain relievers such as oxycodone, Vicodin and Opana.

Pharmacists enter prescriptions for controlled substances into the database, so prescribers can see if patients are getting pills at multiple locations.

Another five states have passed laws to create databases, but have not yet implemented them. Missouri and New Hampshire do not yet have such laws, though they have been introduced in the legislatures, according to Sherry Green, CEO of the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws. There is no national database, though more states are sharing information.

For some doctors, running a “PMP” — shorthand for a Prescription Monitoring Program report — has become as normal a part of seeing new patients as measuring blood pressure.

But the programs have not been without controversy, with a major issue being whether doctors should be required to check the database when prescribing addictive medicine, or whether this should be left to their discretion, said Green.

Read more on Reuters.

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