State-run prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP) store information about prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances, and this information is a valuable resource to medical providers.
The information contained in a state’s PDMP can help doctors and pharmacists ensure the safety of all patients when prescribing and using controlled substances. But, as is often the case, the state-run systems do not speak to each other, meaning the information in Texas’ PDMP might not be accessible to Vermont’s PDMP. The lack of communication between systems seems disconnected from the realities of 2016, where people frequently travel across state lines for work, school, and vacations, and more importantly, those who travel across state lines to take advantage of the PDMP blind spots to abuse and misuse prescription drugs.
PMP InterConnect, run by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, works to securely bridge this gap. The InterConnect system works to connect state PDMP’s, sharing information among the various systems. Currently, 44 states, and the District of Columbia, are working with InterConnect to exchange prescription related data. InterConnect allows a doctor licensed in Connecticut, to log into the Connecticut PDMP and query their patient. The report pulls not only Connecticut records, but may also have information from New York, New Jersey, and Vermont. The exchange of valuable information helps doctors and pharmacists ensure the appropriate use of medications and better identify those patients who may be crossing state lines to doctor shop or obtain drugs.
In 2016, as many states looked to expand their PDMPs in response to the opioid epidemic, joining PMP InterConnect and opening their systems to a broader source of information became a focal point of their efforts. By the end of 2016, it is expected that 43 states will have access to InterConnect, with an additional two states, Oregon and Wyoming, following close behind in the coming years.