Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs to Curb Prescription Drug Abuse: Examining the Components of Program Efficacy

By Joshua J. Timmons
2014, Vol. 6 No. 05 | pg. 4/4 |


Overall, PDMPs are on the right track. Considering that less than half of all states even had one 10 years ago, the trajectory is promising. Now that 49 states do, however, it is increasingly important to determine which components of PDMPs positively influence efficacy. Unsolicited reporting is one such vital component. PDMPs with unsolicited reporting have a 10% lower rate of controlled substance prescription than PDMPs without. Furthermore, states such as Wyoming have been able to use unsolicited reporting systems to cut down on doctor shoppers and boost awareness of the program.

Another crucial component of PDMP efficacy is PMIX compatibility. States not already on the information exchange should take the steps necessary to join it, and states already on it should ensure that they maintain the most recent version of ASAP reporting standards. Additionally, a nationwide discussion between PDMP administrators is necessary in order to solidify the threshold for doctor shopping. Once these steps have been taken, it removes the possibility for doctor shoppers to simply cross state lines to circumvent the triggering of red flags.

The final aspect of PDMP efficacy is that data reporting and collection intervals need to be as short as possible. By cutting interval time, the doctor-shopping window is reduced and emergency departments have a new tool for diagnosing and treating patients. British Columbia offers substantive evidence for the advantage of real time reporting, and, as Oklahoma has shown, points of purchase programs are attainable. Moving forwards it is imperative that PDMPs do more than simply exist– they need to work. Unsolicited reporting, PMIX compatibility, and real time reporting are tools that will help ensure they are capable of doing so.


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