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Missouri pharmacists would like to see a prescription drug monitoring program program in their state, just not the one recently approved by state senators.
Missouri pharmacists would like to see a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) in their state, just not the one recently approved by state senators.
S.B. 63, which establishes a state database to monitor the prescribing and dispensing of all Schedule II through Schedule IV controlled substances, does not give pharmacists and physicians the ability to query the database. “The privacy rights folks want as few people as possible querying the data. I guess they believe that a disgruntled employee in a physician’s office or pharmacy could query the data,” said Ron Fitzwater, CEO of the Missouri Pharmacy Association (MPA).
The PDMP database would allow the state to collect information in a common system so that it could be used to address inappropriate acquisitions of controlled drugs. “The PDMP would be a closed-loop system with very little access from the outside and with highly encrypted data," Fitzwater said.
However, the Missouri House version of the bill is in line with what the MPA would like to see in a PDMP and the organization would rather compromise on the Senate bill than not have a PDMP at all, Fitzwater said.
Missouri is one of the few states that do not operate a PDMP, which many believe is necessary to curb prescription drug abuse. “Our goal is to get Missouri into the game. We have eight border states, so a lot of folks trying to beat the system in other states are trying to come here,” Fitzwater said. “The House bill is more in line with what we would like to see in the bill, in which pharmacists and physicians can query the database and do their job as healthcare professionals,” Fitzwater said.
In the proposed PDMP, the patient would take the script to the pharmacy as usual and the database would match it against the patient’s history. If the patient history is “clean” (he or she has not been filling multiple scripts of the drug from multiple pharmacies), then the system would tell the pharmacist that is the case. If there is concern about multiple fills, the pharmacist would be alerted and could use his or her “best professional judgment and fill it or deny it,” Fitzwater said.
A hearing will be held on the House bill in the state Senate this week. Missouri’s legislative session ends May 15, so the decision on which version of the PDMP will be approved by both the legislative bodies must be made by then.