Congress moves closer to reauthorizing PDMP funding

September 23, 2015

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation reauthorizing a federal program that provides grants to help states create and use prescription drug monitoring programs.

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation reauthorizing a federal program that provides grants to help states create and use prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs).

The National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Reauthorization Act (NASPER) now moves to the U.S. Senate for its consideration.

More than 40% of physicians not using Rx monitoring sites

“Today’s bipartisan passage of NASPER speaks to the breadth and depth of the opiate abuse epidemic," Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.), one of the bill’s co-sponsors, told the Associated Press. "There are few people in this country who have been spared the heartbreak of watching a loved one, neighbor or friend fall victim to opiate addiction."

Kennedy and other co-sponsors believe the next step is for states to make PDMPs accessible nationwide, so that drug abusers cannot foil the systems by filling prescriptions in different states.

“[NASPER] will empower states and advocates on the front lines of this crisis to build successful PDMPs that can communicate across state lines and help identify at-risk behavior, a key first step in fending off addiction before it starts,” Kennedy said.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ.), another co-sponsor of the bill, echoed Kennedy’s sentiment that the goal is creating a national system.

 

“We find a lot of people who actually go back and forth to different doctors and different pharmacies in the tri-state area. These systems are not interoperable from one state to the next,” Pallone said. “That’s a problem for some states particularly a state like ours where people can easily go to New York or to Philadelphia across the border into our neighboring states.” 

While PDMPs are widespread, at least one recent study showed that a large percentage of doctors do not check monitoring systems prior to written prescriptions for controlled substances. Some addiction specialists believe doctors should be mandated to check PDMPs prior to written prescriptions for controlled substances.