State officials in Wisconsin are crediting their prescription drug monitoring program (PMP) with helping reduce the amount of painkiller prescriptions written by prescribers and dispensed by pharmacists.
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Across the country, states have created PMPs to reduce the number of highly addictive painkiller prescriptions written by prescribers and dispensed by pharmacists. The PMPs are designed to thwart patients who fraudulently obtain prescriptions from multiple sources. However, in states where use of PMPs is not mandated, many prescribers don’t regularly check them before prescribing painkillers.
According to the Wisconsin’s Controlled Substances Board (CSB), the amount of monitored prescription drugs dispensed throughout the state between July 2016 and October 2016 was significantly less than during the same period in 2015.
“The number of dispensed prescriptions for a monitored prescription drug this quarter is approximately 6% less than the same quarter in 2015,” a CSB report stated. “Similarly, the number of dispensed doses for a monitored prescription drug is approximately 7% less than the same period in 2015.”
Doug Englebert, chair of the state’s CSB, said he expects the decline in painkiller prescriptions written in Wisconsin to continue. “The Controlled Substance Board expects the report to continue to improve, especially as we move to the new enhanced [PMP] and have greater functionality for reporting,” Englebert wrote in a letter accompanying the release of the quarterly report.
Wisconsin’s PMP started in 2013. It contains more than 40 million prescription records from more than 2,000 prescribers and pharmacies. On average, healthcare workers in the state such as prescribers and pharmacists perform approximately 4,500 PMP checks each day.
The CSB report also revealed that numerous so-called “doctor shoppers” were flagged by PMP queries. Between July 2016 and October 2016, 368 people obtained five or more prescriptions for monitored drugs and obtained those drugs from five or more pharmacies. Two individuals obtained prescriptions from 16 different prescribers. One person received painkillers from 12 different pharmacies.
The CSB also reported that it suspended the PMP access of two pharmacists due to suspected improper use of the system. “[CSB] referred two pharmacists to the Pharmacy Examining Board for possible investigation and disciplinary action,” the report stated.