Sunday, April 23, 2006

Docs seek access to Rx tracking

From the Boston Herald:

Pill-hungry “doctor shoppers” who gin the system to score multiple narcotics prescriptions are being tracked by regulators via mapping technology, but frustrated physicians and pharmacists on the front lines of the addiction battle say they are being pointlessly denied the vital information.

“I would like to know exactly who it is who is going doctor shopping,” said Dr. Srdjan Nedeljkovic, director of Pain Fellowship Education at Brigham and Women’s. “Sometimes you wonder about a patient. I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. How do you know?”

The $20,000 mapping software is used to pinpoint where patients are filling prescriptions for drugs such as OxyContin or Percocet. The new system uses data already collected by the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program.

The overall goal is to halt people from using scripts from numerous doctors to buy up large amounts of addictive painkillers for personal use or resale.

The program tracks patients’ prescription-filling trends through information given at the pharmacy counter, such as driver’s licenses.

While there is a proposal to notify doctors and pharmacists about patients who receive questionable prescriptions from multiple locations, for now only law enforcement, the DPH and regulators are allowed the data.The Public Health Council is likely to decide whether to let doctors and pharmacists access the data this summer. But that’s not soon enough for many of them.


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