Doctors in New York will be required to issue electronic prescriptions for painkillers within three years and will have to check patient records online before doing so after state legislators unanimously passed the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act (I-STOP) yesterday. The bill establishes the creation of the real-time database, and also requires pharmacists to report when they fill such prescriptions, according to an announcement from state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who proposed the legislation in June 2011.
"With I-STOP, we are creating a national model for smart, coordinated communication between healthcare providers and pharmacists to better serve patients, stop prescription drug trafficking, and provide treatment to those who need help," Schneiderman said in a statement.
New York becomes the first state in the nation to mandate that physicians set to prescribe schedule II, III or IV controlled substances look at a patient's prescription history online beforehand, according to the announcement. It becomes the second state after Tennessee to mandate real-time reporting by pharmacists who prescribe such drugs.
The state's health department is required to publish regulations by year's end.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the legislation puts his state "on the forefront of efforts to curb prescription drug abuse."
"Too many families have had to cope with the devastating loss of a teenager as a result of a prescription drug overdose," Cuomo said in a statement. "[T]he legislation … will enable our state to better crack down on the illegal trafficking of painkillers and help prevent more untimely fatalities."
A report released by Schneiderman in January of this year showed that prescriptions for narcotic painkillers in New York jumped from 16.6 million in 2007 to 22.5 million in 2010.