Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) are government tools that monitor controlled substance prescribing patterns, pharmacy dispensing, and patient use of regulated substances. PMDPs, also referred to as Prescription Monitoring Programs (PMPs) are now enacted in 49 of 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam. As of this writing in October 2019, Missouri is the only state that does not have an operational PDMP. PDMPs are online databases that are oftentimes integrated with pharmacy software, and are accessible through a web portal for prescribers. We get questions from prescribers about submitting to PDMP very often, so this blog will highlight some FAQs:
Q: Who controls the PDMP?
A: Each state is responsible for their own PDMP, and the rules surrounding it. This responsibility is overseen by various agencies across the country. In some states, PDMP is administered by their state law enforcement agency, while in others (like Texas) the State Board of Pharmacy administers the PDMP. It could be the state department of health, or another professional licensing agency. It depends.
Q: What is the scope of PDMP?
A: This varies by state. In Texas and most other states, all controlled drugs schedules II-V must be submitted for monitoring. In California, Florida and 14 others, Schedule V drugs do not need to be submitted. In Nebraska, ALLprescription drugs must be submitted, whether controlled or not.
Q: Do I have to check the PDMP as a prescriber?
A: This will vary state by state. As a general rule, if you are going to prescribe a controlled substance for someone (especially an opioid, benzodiazepines, barbituates, or carisoprodol), it would be a wise decision for you to check that patient’s controlled substance history through PDMP. Additionally, some states require monitoring this information periodically as the patient continues therapy, so I would incorporate routine checks into your practice. This also allows you to be alerted if the patient starts receiving another controlled substance from another prescriber.
Q: Do I have to check the PDMP as a pharmacist?
A: In various situations, it is required for the pharmacist to check PDMP. In addition to certain state requirements (e.g., Texas pharmacists will be required to check a patient’s PDMP history before dispensing any of the drugs mentioned above starting in March 2020), retail pharmacies have instituted their own corporate policies which are often more strict than the state law.
Q: Who is supposed to submit this information to PDMP?
A: Under typical circumstances, the outpatient prescription is submitted to the respective PDMP by the pharmacy that is filling the prescription. If the pharmacy does not submit the information, the prescriber must. This is a big benefit to working with a 503A pharmacy like Pharmacy Solutions. The patient-specific ordering requirement ensures that all required controlled substance data is submitted every day.
Q: I’m a patient! Who can access this information? Big Brother is watching!
A: Rest assured. This information is only accessed by licensed healthcare professionals during the usual course of your care and law enforcement officials that have subpoenas. It is accessed and monitored for your safety. There are strict punishments for unauthorized access, and the information is not allowed to be shared.
Q: I’m a patient! Can I get a printout of my PDMP data from my pharmacy?
A: No. This is not allowed by law.