Federal Bill Would Link States’ Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs

A federal bill introduced Thursday would link states’ prescription drug monitoring programs. The proposed nationwide system would allow physicians to see if a new patient has a history of drug abuse in another state before writing a prescription.

The bill, the Interstate Drug Monitoring Efficiency and Data Sharing Act, was introduced by a bipartisan group of House and Senate legislators, The Hill reports. The system would make it easier for law enforcement officials to track and prosecute drug dealers, according to Representative Hal Rogers of Kentucky, a sponsor of the bill.

The new system would create uniform requirements for data encryption and formatting. Currently there is no national standard for exchanging prescription drug monitoring information across state lines.

“While my region of Southern and Eastern Kentucky became ground zero for the abuse of prescription drugs a decade ago, it is now wreaking havoc on communities small and large and cutting across socioeconomic and gender lines,” Rogers said in a news release. “Prescription drug monitoring programs are one of the most efficient and cost-effective tools in our arsenal to cut back on this abuse, bridging the gap between legitimate medical need and potential misuse.”

The article notes that 48 states have prescription drug monitoring programs in some form.

2 Responses to Federal Bill Would Link States’ Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs

  1. Michael W. Shore, M.D. | March 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Absolutely essential to effectively combat prescription drug abuse. In my state of New Jersey patients can easily access Pennsylvania and Delaware doctors and pharmacies, and eventually will learn this way to “game” the system!! Dr. Michael Shore, M.D.

    • Jeff | April 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      Another example of “sharing data” to those with whom the patient has no release of information. Because the goal is laudable does not mean we should do anything in pursuit of that goal. Suddenly all Rx data is in a national database accessible to whomever gets written into this bill. Instead of constructively treating addiction, holding doctors accountable for their misbehavior, and targeting the “treatment” to the affected area we, again, sacrifice patient confidentiality in the name of “doesn’t this seem like such a great idea?!?!” Who exactly will have access to millions of patient records? Will my neighborhood police now have access to my health records to ensure that the bottles in my medicine cabinet are really mine? How about Homeland Security? How long will it be before they check my Rx against a “list” when I board a plane? Too often we turn a blind eye to the human dignity cost of our policies in favor of the newest, latest and greatest sound bites policies. Where is all the research showing these tactics actually work and are worth both the human and also the monetary cost of implementation?

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