New York joins New Jersey drug-monitoring program

New York has joined New Jersey's prescription drug monitoring program, reports The Washington Post.

That makes eight states collaborating in The Garden State's program, including South Carolina, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Virginia, Connecticut and Delaware, according to The Legal Examiner. In its first eight days of participation, New York made about 16,000 information requests of the database, compared with 30,000 requests in the first three months of 2015. 

In July 2015, Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill requiring drug prescribers and pharmacists in New Jersey to register for the program, considered a means to thwart "doctor shopping."

The database notes when prescriptions are issued and cross-references all patient aliases. It allows healthcare workers to search a patient's prescription patterns to determine whether they're going from doctor to doctor to get narcotics.

The law requires the database to be updated with 24 hours, which often didn't happen for several weeks previously.

Missouri remains the only state without prescription drug monitoring program. Indiana and Ohio were among the first states sharing prescribing information. New York, Maine and Massachusetts recently joined the PMP InterConnect of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, in which nearly 30 states share prescription drug data.

Yet many doctor's don't take advantage of the prescription databases. A new bill in California would make checking the state's monitoring program database mandatory when prescribing Schedule II or III drugs like oxycontin to a patient for the first time, and annually thereafter.

To learn more:
- read the Washington Post story
- find the Legal Examiner article