Pennsylvania launches redesigned patient prescription database to fight opioid addiction

The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program aims to combat drug abuse in the state.
By Jessica Davis
11:01 AM

In response to the growing opioid epidemic in the state, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced the launch of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program this week. State officials hope it will help to spot patients battling addiction and allow for intervention.

Prescribers and dispensers can both query and report information from PDMP, regarding the number of opioids prescribed and to whom. In doing so, officials hope to address drug abuse and provide better care for patients.

The redesigned system will be run by the Department of Health and will provide access to both physicians and pharmacists, according to Wolf. While there's been a prescription drug monitoring program in the state since the 1970s, it was previously run by the Attorney General and only available to law enforcement agencies.

[Also: Geisinger EHR analytics project helps predict opioid overdoses]

Like many states, opioid addiction is prevalent in Pennsylvania. The state saw more than 3,500 drug overdoses in 2015, Wolf explained. PDMP will work to combat this number by allowing doctors to view patients' medication histories and determine if a patient recently had a prescription filled from another provider.

As a result, physicians and pharmacists should be able to identify any inappropriate medication use.

"Pennsylvania is in the grips of an opioid abuse crisis and the PDMP will help us work together to fight against addiction and reverse this deadly trend," Secretary of Health Karen Murphy, said in a statement. "The Department of Health is proud to oversee this outstanding program that will improve prescribing habits, combat abuse, protect patients and save lives."

Pennsylvania is one of the last states to implement this type of program; there are now 49 states with some kind of patient prescription database. PA PDMP is now open for medical professionals to register online.

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
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