The American College of Physicians supports the development of a national prescription drug monitoring program, which would create a single database that physicians and pharmacies could electronically review before prescribing controlled substances, according to a position paper, CBS News reports. The paper was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday (Jaslow, CBS News, 12/9).
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration currently runs a monitoring program aimed at reducing prescription drug misuse by offering health care providers access to clinical decision support data (iHealthBeat, 5/31).
In addition, 48 states have created databases to monitor prescription drug activity.
However, few physicians are using the databases because they are too difficult to operate and time-consuming (iHealthBeat, 11/18).
Details of Position Paper
The authors wrote that a national prescription monitoring program "could be much more effective in addressing prescription drug [misuse] than programs administered by the states, which are not accessible to pharmacies or prescribers in other states and have different as well as redundant reporting requirements."
In addition, the authors recommended that pharmacies should be required to check a national prescription drug database before filling prescriptions for controlled substances. They also called for passage of legislation in all states that would permit electronic prescription of all controlled substances (Kirschner et al., Annals of Internal Medicine, 12/10).
In a release, Consumer Watchdog Executive Director Carmen Balber said, "This step by the nation's largest medical society recognizes that mandatory use of prescription drug databases before physicians prescribe will help identify 'doctor-shopping' patients and save lives" (Consumer Watchdog release, 12/10).
In addition, Stephen Dewey -- an addiction researcher at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research -- called the guidelines "excellent and perhaps long overdue."
He said ACP has "acknowledged the roles played by physicians in this growing problem and is now offering suitable, effective and well-conceived strategies to address it" (HealthDay News/U.S. News & World Report, 12/9).