December 05, 2013
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Drug Prescribing/Dispensing Patient Care
At a House subcommittee hearing in November, the American Medical Association (AMA) pushed for passage and full funding of a reauthorization bill that would help physicians combat prescription drug abuse while ensuring that patients in pain are relieved of their suffering.
Steven J. Stack, M.D., immediate past chairman of the AMA Board of Trustees, told the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health that “appropriations to fully fund, modernize, and optimize prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) have not kept pace with the escalation in abuse and diversion.”
Dr. Stack’s testimony came as the House considers the “National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Reauthorization Act of 2013” (NASPER). PDMPs, such as California's CURES system, were designed to give physicians information about controlled substance prescriptions patients have obtained and filled from other prescribers.
However, Dr. Stack told the subcommittee that “the majority of PDMPs still are not real-time, interoperable, or available at the point-of-care as a regular part of physician workflow.” Reauthorization and full federal funding of NASPER would help modernize and make PDMPs fully interoperable, Dr. Stack added.
“To be helpful, it is essential that PDMPs are easy to use and provide reliable information to guide sound clinical decisions,” Dr. Stack said. “When prescription drug monitoring programs support clinical decision-making, the efficacy is remarkable.”
Dr. Stack cited an Ohio pilot project that placed PDMPs in emergency departments and found that 41 percent of prescribers given reliable PDMP data altered their prescribing decisions. “Accurate PDMP data can directly inform sound clinical decisions, thereby reducing diversion and abuse while still ensuring that patients receive the care they need,” Dr. Stack said.