New Jersey State House General Assembly ChamberGovernor Chris Christie signed a bill on July 20th, 2015 requiring drug prescribers and pharmacists in NJ to register for the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) and to check the PMP when prescribing controlled substances.

“We’re not only making the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program even stronger, we’re demonstrating that by working together, we can all be part of the solution – a solution that fights the stigma of addiction, saves lives and helps rebuild families,” Christie said in a statement. Legislators say 85 percent of New Jersey’s doctors are currently registered to access the program’s database but that the registration doesn’t mean practitioners regularly reference the data.

States Begin to Address the Problem

Many states are moving in this direction to deal with two big pain points – prescription drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US and we have over 2m abusers and addicts in the population. Typically, the government created an unfunded requirement for prescribers.

Christie leads with addiction, then accidental death, and then the damage to families – and all of these are real problems. I don’t see how a responsible prescriber can review the prescription history, integrate it with the patient’s medical history, identify areas of concern regarding addiction, overdose, or suffering, and perform this all in the time necessary to stay in business.

The risk of death or abuse is so high that it can poison the doctor – patient interaction. How can a caring prescriber determine if someone really needs a painkiller, for example? Pressure comes from the government and law enforcement to crack down, but this often means ignoring addiction problems and denying care. The existing PMP does not present information in a friendly actionable way. Without clear data, and given the fierce time pressure each patient encounter faces, we see enormous pressure to avoid risk and say no to patients who may have legitimate needs.

PastRx – A Better Solution

We think Prescription Advisory provides a better alternative with PastRx. Prescribers can see instantly the history of prescriptions, relate it to the full medical record, and see alerts regarding high levels of medication, multiple prescribers, and other risks. This takes the anxiety out of the conversation and lets both the doctor and patient focus on care. This brings higher trust, faster encounters, better data, and less drama.

How will you deal with the new legislation? Let me know at david@pastrx.com.

Follow Prescription Advisory

The use of PDMPs…is helping to reduce misuse of prescription drugs.

PDMP Center of Excellence at Brandeis University, February 2014 Briefing

Use of a state PDMP may help identify patients who are at high risk for diversion or doctor shopping… To quantify the effects of PDMPs, studies were conducted of ED providers who cared for adult patients with pain. Of the patients with complete data in one study, information from the state’s PDMP System altered prescribing practice in 41%.

ACEP - Annals of Emergency Medicine - 525

David is Prescription Advisory’s Chief Marketing Officer. Software startups are his passion.

He also serves as the Director of Startup Grind Princeton and a mentor for the Princeton University eLab.

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