Maine Rx Monitoring Program Targets Suspicious Prescribing

Pharmacy Times
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Officials at Maine's Office of SubstanceAbuse have begun collectingdetailed prescription data from everypharmacy in the state as part of acrackdown on prescription drug abuseby patients. The information gatheredfrom the pharmacies will be compiledtwice a month and searched for evidenceof "doctor shopping" by drugusers who try to obtain multiple prescriptionsfrom different physicians.

The program, which will focus onscheduled drugs with abuse potential,is designed to flag multiple purchasesby the same person, too frequent refills,and other suspicious patterns.

Significantly, however, Mainedoes not plan to use the monitoringprogram for law enforcement purposes.When suspicious activity isidentified, prescribers will beencouraged to review the patient'sdrug needs, adjust prescribing practices,and refer the patient for substanceabuse counseling whenappropriate.

The goal of the program is "to createa tool that may improve communitycare and reduce addiction andoverdose by stressing preventionand treatment," state officials said.Law enforcement authorities willbe able to subpoena specific informationfor a case they are alreadyinvestigating, but they can not go ona "fishing expedition," a spokesmanfor the state said.

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