The Arizona legislature is considering a bill which would create a statewide database tracking drug prescriptions, a step already taken by 33 other states. The idea behind the bill is to monitor for patterns suggesting patient drug abuse, such as "doctor shopping," under which patients go to multiple physicians for the same drug. The bill would also allow both Arizona state and federal officials to keep an electronic eye on how much doctors and dentists are prescribing, making it easier to detect cases of alleged overprescribing of controlled substances such as narcotics. Right now, if a doctor is concerned that a patient is doctor shopping--or investigators feel that physicians are overprescribing--their only option is to visit pharmacies on foot. The bill would give the state's Pharmacy Board permission to spend up to $400,000 to launch the program.
To learn more about the bill:
- read this East Valley Tribune article