JOPLIN, MO.--- Missouri state lawmakers consider installing a program to monitor prescription drug sales. Missouri representatives have presented House Bill 1133, which would create a state database to monitor prescription drug usage. A pharmacist with Freeman Health System says it's a way to keep patients from what medical professionals call "doctor shopping."
"I think the major benefit to this is that they're trying to stop what we call doctor shopping, and that's when a patient will go to multiple doctors and use multiple providers to get duplicate therapy, and sometimes that therapy is used for ilicit use," said Greg Cobble, Freeman Quickmeds Pharmacist.
House Bill 1133 only needs one more vote before it moves to the Senate. The legislation calls for Missouri to add a database that would allow medical professionals to see where and when a patient's prescriptions have been filled.
"So if you would come to this pharmacy, then what you got here today would be in a database and would be available to other providers elsewhere," said Cobble.
Greg Cobble is a pharmacist that supports the bill, he says the database would help cut down on the number of people who abuse prescription medication, much like the programs currently used by insurance providers.
"If a patient has a prescription and then tries to get the same thing at another pharmacy before it's needed, it'll flag up and say, 'this patient had this thing filled else where on this date, and they shouldn't need any more of this until the appropriate time," said Cobble.
Cobble says there are some cons to having this kind of system in place.
"Let's say a cancer patient needs a pain medicine and then that isn't cutting it for them and they need something a little bit stronger, when they get that second prescription from their doctor and bring it in, it might get flagged as a duplicate therapy, and so it would prevent filling right then," said Cobble.
Cobble says there would be an override in those types of situations. Pharmacists would be able to call and explain why the medication is needed.
"For the people that are using things appropriately and the way the doctors intend for the treatment to be, there's really no negatives for it. It's just going to stop ilicit drug use," said Cobble.
Missouri is the only state in the nation that does not have a system to monitor prescription drug use. Those in opposition of the legislation say we're fine without it, studies show overdose rates haven't really gone down in states with drug monitoring programs. Those who support the bill say it's an important step to ending prescription drug abuse.
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