October 21, 2017  Last Update: December 21, 2016, 11:10 pm

“Show Me” State Gets Shown : Why Isn’t Missouri Monitoring Prescriptions?

Gil Kerikowske is visiting Missouri to advocate for a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Missouri is the only state left that doesn’t have a PDMP. Some Missouri politicians are pledging to resist any such form of “government intervention in private affairs”, while other states are offering evidence of how effective their PDMP programs have been in preventing illegal drug diversions.

Some politicians in Missouri have pledged to battle any prescription drug monitoring as an invasion of privacy by government, and Missouri is now the only state without plans for a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP). Gil Kerikowske, the White House “Drug Czar”, is on his way to visit Missouri and “show them” some alarming statistics that might help them be more responsible.

Forty nine other states are on board with the idea that pharmacies and doctors should share information about medical prescriptions, so that patients will have trouble cheating the system by “doctor shopping”. When neighboring Kansas started a PDMP, they discovered one patient who had seen 56 different prescribers to get prescriptions, which were filled by more than 13 pharmacies.

Missouri is the only state that doesn’t track drug prescriptions, making it a potential target of drug-seekers nationwide
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Doctor Shopping is the practice of visiting more than one doctor for the same ailment, in order to get more than one prescription for desired  drugs. In some states such as Florida, doctor shopping has been organized by modern day drug dealers to collect tens of thousands of pain killer pills (like Oxycontin and hydrodocone) which are then sold on the streets.

By monitoring prescription fulfillment at the pharmacy, “the system” can track the allocation of pills. Pharmacists could check before re-filling the same drug that has already been supplied at another pharmacy, and doctors could check before writing what might be a duplicate prescription.

We wrote previously about how New Jersey, the home of a number of pharmaceutical companies, took nearly 5 years to approve the NJ prescription drug monitoring program. We’ve written several times about Florida, the Pill Mill State, and it’s problems with painkillers before the Florida PDMP was put into place.

"Florida was once known as the pill mill capital. Just a few years ago, more than 90 of the nation’s top 100 prescription-dispensing physicians were in Florida. That was before the state instituted a tracking program in 2009. Now they’re down to 13 of the top 100"

So why is Missouri still holding out?

Politicians in the “Show Me State” claim it is government involvement in private affairs. They previously blocked legislation for monitoring prescription drugs in Missouri:

Under the legislation in Missouri, the database would include the identities of doctors prescribing certain medications and the patients receiving them, as submitted by pharmacies. That information could be provided to doctors and pharmacists, and law enforcement personnel could obtain it with a subpoena.

They suggest that such tracking could be an invasion of privacy, and that the private, sensitive data could be mis-used or mis-directed away from government databases, perhaps to private insurance companies. The public comments seem to suggest that the resistance to a prescription drug monitoring program in Missouri is part of the bigger, modern  anti-government movement.

To the DEA, one enforcement arm of government, the prescription drug monitoring programs are a major effort in preventing drug diversion, the improper distribution of controlled substances away from authorized channels (like pharmacy to patient transfer authorized by a prescription from a licensed medical doctor) to illegal channels (like the illegal sale of prescription pharmaceuticals on the streets). Some physicians disagree with these efforts by an enforcement agency to override physician orders. One physician the DEA labeled a “bold prescriber” has been fighting the DEA over the issue, and at least one pain doctor in Florida has sued a pharmacy over a similar DEA-supported drug prescriber blacklisting.

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Comments

  1. DontMatter says:

    I agree and glad Missouri is standing up to the government on this issue. It really is nobody’s business what someone does or gets prescribed. I’m a chronic pain patient/sufferer and still get a hard time filling my medication a few times a year.(Every 29-30 days) Maybe the government should concentrate more on the top politicians in this country and not the middle class/poverty citizens. #doesitreallymatter!

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