Making Prescription Drug Monitoring Easier

Dec 30, 2015

The head of the governor’s office of drug control policy will ask state lawmakers to make it easier for doctors and pharmacies to use the state’s prescription drug monitoring program.    The program is designed to prevent the overprescribing of painkillers and other addictive drugs.   

Doctors and pharmacists use the system to check earlier prescriptions before dispensing more meds.   It’s designed to prevent so-called doctor-shopping by patients who get multiple prescriptions when they should get one.    Only about 27-percent of prescribers participate, and Steve Lukan at the Iowa Office of Drug Control Policy wants to change that.

“That's our goal is to increase the usage of the system,” he says.

The proposed legislation would link the monitoring program to existing electronic records.  

“There are concerns from prescribers, from the health care community who say it's not as user-friendly as it could be,” Lukan says.   “I think if we can merge those electronic health records, it's going to make the data more user-friendly, it's going to make the data more timely.”

Officials report an increase in drug overdoses from prescription meds and heroin, which addicts turn to after becoming hooked on painkillers.