HARRISBURG – State Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) today praised Pennsylvania’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) for helping curb prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet statewide.
During a press conference held at the State Capitol yesterday, Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine, as well as Deputy Secretary for Health Innovation Dr. Lauren Hughes, who oversees the daily operation of the PDMP, discussed how Pennsylvania’s PDMP has drastically reduced doctor shopping and prescription drug abuse since the program’s creation in 2016.
According to the Physician General, 93,000 prescribers have registered with the PDMP in the last 12 months, and 52,000 searches are being performed per weekday. Prescriptions for youth and adolescents have also decreased by 30 percent in the first year.
As of July 7, 2017, the PDMP has been sharing data with 11 other states and the District of Columbia, according to the Physician General. Interstate sharing of data helps prescribers and pharmacists get a more complete picture of their patients’ controlled substance prescription histories, regardless of which state they filled their prescription in.
Beginning in September, Pennsylvania’s PDMP will also be launching an initiative to integrate the system data with the electronic health records and pharmacy management systems of all eligible health care entities in the state.
“Last session, I was pleased to sponsor legislation that strengthened the PDMP, requiring the querying of the system every time someone is prescribed an opioid or benzodiazepine,” Sen. Yaw said. “While implementation of the statewide PDMP was an important step in addressing the growing heroin and opioid epidemic, it cannot be the last step. We must remain vigilant in our fight to curb heroin and opioid abuse and misuse,” Yaw added.
Rita Zielonis, Chief of Staff