/publications/issue/2004/2004-06/2004-06-7955

Rx Tracking Legislation Surfaces in Congress

Author: Ken Rankin

Congress is considering legislation aimed at encouraging state regulators to develop new procedures for monitoring prescription drug?dispensing activity by pharmacists.

The bill, introduced by Sen Susan Collins (R, Me) as the "Prescription Drug Stewardship Act," would provide federal grants to help states establish systems to "track the distribution of prescription drugs from the prescribing healthcare providers to the pharmacy and, finally, to the patient."

As a condition for accepting the federal funds, states would be obligated to require each pharmacy to submit regular reports to regulatory officials identifying the prescriber, the patient, and the specific medication used to fill every prescription order. According to Collins, such monitoring is needed in order to "reduce the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs."