The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) has released an action plan to help standardize prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) to better track and deter abuse of prescriptions for controlled substances.


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NCPDP offers plan to improve prescription monitoring

April 26th, 2013

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) has released an action plan to help standardize prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) to better track and deter abuse of prescriptions for controlled substances.

The council on Thursday announced the availability of a white paper titled "NCPDP Recommendations for Improving Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs" that delineates its strategy.

NCPDP noted that, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, prescription drug abuse is the nation's fastest-growing drug problem, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified prescription drug overdose deaths as an epidemic.

As of February, 49 states have enacted laws to establish a PDMP, an electronic database that gathers data on controlled substances dispensed or prescribed in their jurisdiction. Similar legislation is pending in Missouri, according to NCPDP.

Yet the lack of business rules governing or allowing sharing of information between states and across pharmacies, interoperability issues among PDMPs, and variations in the timeliness of data reporting have made it difficult for states and law enforcement to prevent misuse, abuse and fraud, NCPDP pointed out.

The group also explained that the prescription monitoring process isn't integrated into pharmacist and prescriber workflow and doesn't support proactive intervention since information isn't provided in a timely fashion. That has made it tough for pharmacy and medical professionals to flag potential drug abuse and diversion, as well as to gauge patient safety risk and to make appropriate clinical decisions before a prescription is written or dispensed.

Providing timely clinical data, too, will ensure access for patients with a valid medical need for controlled substances to treat their medical conditions, NCPDP added.

"Addressing patient safety issues has always been a top priority for NCPDP," Lee Ann Stember, president of NCPDP, said in a statement. "This white paper offers state governments and other industry stakeholders a road map for how to resolve the challenges of PDMP and realize its potential by using existing industry standards and processes."

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