A prescription monitoring program

Does your state have a prescription monitoring program (PMP)?

Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1 out of every 15 Americans has abused or misused medications at some point during their life time. In addition to being addictive and potentially deadly, these drugs can be very expensive for patients who are uninsured or underinsured. As such, it’s important that physicians make sure they prescribe only those medicines which will benefit their patient. One way this happens is if doctors know what other prescriptions their patient may already be taking so as not to duplicate treatments. This practice is known as “drug-therapy matching” or more commonly as “prescription medication reconciliation.”

In order to help ensure that medication therapy is safe and effective, The Joint Commission developed a national standard called “The Standards for Pharmacy Services”. It requires pharmacists to review each new prescription with the physician prior to dispensing. If there is any discrepancy between the two documents, then the pharmacist must contact the prescriber before filling the prescription.

To assist pharmacists in meeting this requirement, several states have implemented programs designed to monitor prescribed medications by linking them together via a computerized database. These systems allow pharmacists to electronically compare a current prescription against one from another provider’s record. When discrepancies are found, the system generates alerts or flags indicating potential problems with the treatment plan.

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