Keystone State moving closer to an Rx database

October 17, 2013

Pennsylvania, which has one of the highest rates of overdoses in the country, is moving closer to an Rx database that would list all prescriptions of potentially habit-forming medications.

Pennsylvania, which has one of the highest rates of overdoses in the country, is moving closer to an Rx database that would list all prescriptions of potentially habit-forming medications.

Recently, state legislators considered several amendments to a bill that would create the Pharmaceutical Accountability Monitoring System. A final version of the bill could be approved by the end of the month.

Some view the bill, sponsored by State Rep. Matthew E. Baker, R-Tioga County, as a way to fight prescription drug overdoses. A recent report ranked Pennsylvania 14th in overdose deaths, with 15.3 per 100,000 residents. Others oppose the database, calling it an invasion of medical privacy.

Legislators approved an amendment to the bill that would require a warrant for a prosecutor to gain access to the prescription database. Another approved amendment would exclude from the database prescriptions for drugs used to fight epilepsy.

"The privacy issues with the bill have been addressed," said State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Muhlenberg Township told the Reading Eagle. "Moving forward this bill will be crucial in stopping the OTC and opiate drug issues which are very serious in our area and across our state."

The bill also seems to have gained the support of the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PMS), which supports a prescription database as long as privacy concerns are addressed. "This has been a solid year of work that we have put in on this issue, not only on the legislative side but on the education side," said Chuck Moran, a PMS spokesman.