Have you accessed your state’s PMP lately?

Have you accessed your state’s PMP lately? Unless you practice in Missouri, the only wrong answer to the question is, “What’s a PMP?” The acronym stands for Prescription Monitoring Program, and Missouri is the only state that has not established one.  So what is it? Here is the definition, according to the Alliance of States with Prescription Monitoring Programs.

What is a Prescription Monitoring Program?
Prescription Monitoring Programs (PMPs) are highly effective tools utilized by government officials for reducing prescription drug abuse and diversion. PMPs collect, monitor, and analyze electronically transmitted prescribing and dispensing data submitted by pharmacies and dispensing practitioners. The data are used to support states’ efforts in education, research, enforcement and abuse prevention. PMPs are managed under the auspices of a state, district, commonwealth, or territory of the United States.

It’s no secret that the abuse and misuse of prescription drugs is rampant in the United States . PMPs are seen as an important tool in coming to grips with and beginning to address the problem. In most states, however, use of the state PMP by practitioners has been voluntary and many doctors are unaware of their existence. This is beginning to change.

Some states require prescribers to check the PMP database in certain circumstances, such as when prescribing for new patients.  New York is making it mandatory for physicians to always access the PMP database before prescribing schedule II, III and IV drugs. The New York law becomes effective August 27, 2013.  It is therefore especially important that New York doctors familiarize themselves with the particulars of the law well in advance so that they can comply.  PRMS’ mailing to insureds in New York on this new law is being finalized and will be sent out next week. An online version of the New York mailing and resources are available online. (Login to My Program is required.)

From a risk management perspective, we believe PMPs are a great source of information about the medications being prescribed to your patients that you otherwise would not know.  We understand that checking the PMP can be time-consuming, and that not all states allow prescribers to delegate this task to a non-physician, but based on the calls we’ve had to our Risk Management Consultation Service helpline, it is time well spent.

So I encourage you to learn about the PMP in your state, and start using it, even if you doing so is not currently required.   Given the scope of the problem, it is unlikely that New York will be the only state making use of the PMP database mandatory.