State prescription drug databases like KASPER cut back doctor shopping and drug abuse, new study shows

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Research from the University of North Carolina indicates drug databases like the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting system do reduce doctor shopping and change prescribing behavior.

Another article showed state drug databases “facilitate a relative decrease over time in prescription drug misuse, despite state differences in program administration,” reports Maggie Clark for Stateline, the freshly revised news service of The Pew Center on the States.

A 2010 evaluation of KASPER showed 90 percent of doctors who used the system found it effective in preventing drug abuse and doctor shopping. A new Kentucky law “mandates that all physicians and pharmacists who prescribe schedule II and III drugs, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, check the patient’s prescription records before writing or filling a prescription,” Clark reports. Dispensers must also register prescriptions in the state database without 24 hours of writing or filling the prescription.

Clark points out the legislation change sparked a debate about “how to balance patient privacy and law enforcements needs in fighting a serious criminal and public health problem.” Attorney General Jack Conway, who wanted KASPER put into his office’s hands, lost that fight as part of the legislative compromise. It will remain the responsibility of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and, by extension, the doctor-run Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.

Privacy issues have likewise surfaced in Vermont. “The discussion really is about what kind of access the police will have to electronic personal health information,” said Allen Gilbert, executive director of the Vermont Civil Liberties Union. (Read more)

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