Missouri’s drug watch program moves forward

Development of a prescription drug monitoring program in Missouri is progressing.

Lawmakers passed legislation last year to create a PDMP in the state.

At this time, Missouri became the last of the states to establish a PDMP program. The passage was met with support from voters who see it as a way to reduce the high number of overdoses that have occurred in the state over the past decade.

However, opponents of the law say it invades people’s privacy and sought to strike it down in the last legislative session.

The Missouri law aims to allow doctors, pharmacists and a board of supervisors to view patients’ prescription records, in an effort to prevent abusers from “doctor shopping” – obtaining multiple prescriptions from several doctors.

When Gov. Mike Parson signed Senate Bill 63 on Aug. 28, he created the Joint Oversight Task Force for Prescription Drug Oversight. Members include William Kane, representing the state dental board; Julie Miller, representing the Board of Nursing; Douglas Lang and Christian Tadrus, representing the pharmacy board; and Naveed Razzaque and Mark Taormina, representing the healing arts council.

The task force elected Razzaque as its chair, according to Chris Moreland, public information officer for the Office of State Administration. The state has hired Dean Linneman as executive director, whose responsibilities include working alongside the task force to create the program, and selecting a company to collect and distribute prescription information.

The task force is continuing to prepare documents — for use in a bidding process — outlining expected operations involved in monitoring the distribution of Schedules II, III and IV controlled substances in Missouri, Moreland said. .

One of the goals is to get draft documents into the hands of procurement staff in the coming weeks, he said.

“The implementation of the PDMP will begin once a vendor has been selected,” Moreland said. “The actual go-live date has yet to be determined, but will not occur until all distributors/suppliers have been notified and trained in the use of the system.”

The task force reviewed many PDMPs from other communities with the goal of creating a state-of-the-art system for Missouri, he added.

“The final product will certainly look like other states, but Missouri’s PDMP is unlikely to be identical to any particular state. PDMPs are built and governed by each state’s statutes and regulations, so there is a variety of styles and approaches highlighted in each state’s PDMP,” he said.

Key elements of the statewide PDMP, he continued, include: real-time data submission; its integration capabilities; and the level of protection available to individual patients, prescribers and dispensers. The working group wants real-time submission to be in place from the start of the program. It also recognizes the importance of having PDMP information at the fingertips of suppliers and distributors, Moreland said.

“Therefore, it will be critical that the chosen vendor’s system be compatible with the majority of electronic health record systems in use in the state,” he said.

Another task force goal is to fully implement the system before the end of March 2023. This should allow Missouri to select a vendor through the bidding process while allowing time to enact necessary rules.

The State plans to deploy an education and awareness plan to facilitate the launch of the PDMP.

In addition, the task force submitted an application for a United States Department of Justice Harold Rogers PDMP grant. The Harold Rogers grants “build the ability of regulatory and law enforcement agencies and public health officials to collect and analyze prescription data for controlled substances and other scheduled chemicals through a database administered by an authorized agency,” according to the department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. “This program assists states, local communities, and tribal efforts to break the cycle of substance misuse and misuse by reducing the demand for, use, and illegal trafficking of controlled substances.”

More information can be found at https://bja.ojp.gov/funding/opportunities/o-bja-2022-171290.

If awarded, the grant will be available in November, Moreland said.

About Irene J. O'Donnell

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