New York State considers real-time reporting of controlled-substances prescribing

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Pharmaceutical CommercePharmaceutical Commerce - January/February 2012

Aim is to reduce ‘doctor shopping’ for prescriptions, and to better monitor patients and addicts’ health; potential system highlights data availability

Although New York State is one of over 40 states that has a prescription monitoring program (PMP) to prevent drug abusers from filling multiple subscriptions by fraudulently obtaining scrip sheets or prescriptions, the system takes 15 to 45 days to collect each period’s prescription activity—better than nothing, but not enough to shut down this form of abuse. So, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, together with two state legislators, has proposed the Internet Tracking for OverPrescribing Act, or I-STOP.

I-STOP would cost only a few million dollars to implement, but could help reduce abuse that costs health care providers (including states) hundreds of millions in healthcare, accidental overdoses, and law enforcement activities. The lower-cost options require pharmacists to input data to a centralized state server; other system could eventually involve e-prescribing or financial reconciliation practices in today’s healthcare system.

“We should not think of I-STOP only as a law enforcement tool,” writes Schneiderman. “ I-STOP will also be a diagnostic tool. The very same enhanced communication aspect … will also help [doctors] evaluate a patient’s prescription drug history as part of determining the proper treatment for that patient.” And, while significant communications, data security and privacy issues would need to be worked out, the possibilities for such real-time monitoring of non-controlled substances—for, for instance, medication adherence—are intriguing.

Schneiderman’s report is available here. No word on how far this has advanced in the New York State legislature.

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