The Missouri House has passed legislation 87 to 66 to create a prescription drug monitoring program.
Should it pass through the Senate, it would make Missouri the 50th state to create the database intended for doctors and pharmacists to see when similar prescriptions were recently prescribed to the same person.
"We're going to be able to see and avoid several big problems: we'll be able to avoid dangerous drug interactions, avoid dangerous therapeutic duplications, and then those people who doctor shop to try to get extra opiates," Greg Cobble, coordinator for Freeman QuickMeds said.
Pharmacists like Cobble would make a few keystrokes to a computer then have information at their dispense. This move is partially intended to help combat "doctor shopping".
"They'll go from doctor to doctor and pharmacy to pharmacy so at this point, none of us know what other ones are doing, so with this bill and if this is enacted, then we'll have a better view of what the patient is doing," Cobble said.
Dr. Gary Hamlin of Hamlin Walk-In Clinic is optimistic about learning whether an abusive pattern is present.
"Most patients who have true pain are seeking or abusing or diverting medications have a legitimate underlying need for care, but they've gotten out of control," Hamlin said. "So this can help protect a patient as much as it does a physician and a pharmacist."
The legislation would particularly benefit regions like the Four States, where patients can simply cross state lines to receive a prescription that their home-state doctor would not otherwise know about.
"When we have access to what other people are getting dispensed to them in other places, then it will enable us to avoid those dangerous drug interactions that we may not be able to see now," Cobble said.
Opponents of the bill fear the database would hamper with patient privacy.
"I'm not a buyer of that, this will be protected health information just like your protected health information you have now," Cobble said.
Similar proposals have had problems passing through the Senate in the past. However, bill sponsor Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) feels that the early passing through the House will give it the time necessary to work through the Senate.
To track the bill's progress, visit http://www.house.mo.gov/billsummary.aspx?bill=HB1892&year=2016&code=R
KOAM - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas