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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: January 7, 2013 03:58 PM
From: Senator Michael J. Stack
To: All Senate members
Subject: Prescription Drug Monitoring legislation - Bill 1 of 3
Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem. According to national statistics nearly 6-million Americans abuse prescription drugs. The National Community Pharmacists Association estimated the impact on U.S. health care costs to be more than $100 million. The Drug Enforcement Agency has placed Pennsylvania on the list of states that have been hit hardest by the rise in prescription drug abuse.

In order to combat prescription drug abuse, I am reintroducing the following legislation from the 2011-12 session. Senate Bill 787 Provides for the electronic monitoring of controlled substances dispensed by a pharmacist in Pennsylvania.

The legislation would require the Office of Attorney General to develop an electronic system for monitoring Schedule II and III controlled substances that are dispensed within Pennsylvania by a pharmacist or dispensed to an address within this Commonwealth by a pharmacy licensed by the State Board of Pharmacy. Schedule II and III controlled substances are exempt from the reporting required under this legislation if they are administered directly to a patient or the amount dispensed to patient by a practitioner at a facility licensed by the Department of Health is only adequate for 48 hours or less.

In order to keep the data collected by the electronic monitoring system private only a limited number of people are allowed to view the information. The data collected by the monitoring system can only be viewed by a designated representative of a board responsible for the licensure, regulation or discipline of medical practitioners and pharmacists, law enforcement officers, a state-operated Medicaid program, a properly convened grand jury, and a medical practitioner or pharmacist for the purposes of providing medical or pharmaceutical treatment to a bona fide current patient.

Any person who intentionally fails to transmit data to the Office of Attorney General as required by this legislation commits a misdemeanor of the third degree. Any person who intentionally discloses transmitted data to a person not authorized to receive it or obtains information under this act while not conducting a bona fide specific investigation commits a felony of the third degree.

Kentucky has implemented a successful electronic monitoring program that is similar to the one I am proposing. Kentucky’s program has proven to be especially effective for doctors, who use it to identify doctor shoppers, which gives them greater confidence that they are prescribing medications to patients with legitimate needs. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has endorsed Kentucky’s program and similar prescription drug monitoring programs. Last session, this legislation was co-sponsored by Senators Brewster, Browne, Fontana, Kasunic, Mensch, Rafferty, and Tartaglione

If you have any additional questions, please call our office at 787-9608

Introduced as SB611