Online database aims to reduce prescription drug fatalities

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A bill that would create an online database for tracking prescription drugs is moving through the Pennsylvania Legislature.

The legislation would create a custom online database that would be used to track drug prescriptions issued throughout the state, according to EHR Intelligence. The bill recently passed 191 to 7 in the Pennsylvania House and has been sent to the state Senate for consideration. The law is aimed at reducing the number of fatal overdoses caused by prescription drugs. Pennsylvania ranked No. 14 among states in instances of fatal prescription drug overdoses in 2010, recording a rate of 15.3 deaths per 100,000 residents.

Online database should reduce doctor shopping

“Doctors and prescribers and pharmacists are going to be able to go on their computers now and they’re going to be able to see who’s doctor shopping and who’s pharmacy shopping, and hopefully—not put an end to it—but really cut back on the abuse that’s gone on out there,” the source quoted state Rep. Gene DiGirolamo as saying.

In addition to physicians and pharmacists, law enforcement personnel will also have access to the online database. An amendment to the bill requires officers to obtain a warrant before performing searches related to a criminal investigation.

Many states already use online databases to track prescription drugs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Prescription drug abuse has become a pervasive problem in many parts of the nation. In 2008, poisonings surpassed automobile accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in the nation, and about 89 percent of those fatalities were caused by prescription pharmaceuticals.