NarxCare Is a Welcome Tool

Pharmacy TimesDecember 2019
Volume 85
Issue 12

Rite Aid’s solution will allow pharmacists to make responsible dispensing decisions by navigating PDMPs.

Rite aid recently announced that it is integrating the NarxCare technology platform into its pharmacies to assist pharmacists in identifying substance abuse disorder and making decisions about the dispensing of prescription drugs. Pharmacists should applaud this new initiative by Rite Aid and its partner in the effort, Appriss Health.

“NarxCare is another efficient and effective solution to help our pharmacists make responsible dispensing decisions, while mitigating possible controlled substance misuse or abuse. The integration of NarxCare and the [prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP)] information into our pharmacist’s workflow empowers them to focus more on building relationships with patients and improving health and wellness across the communities they serve,” Jocelyn Konrad, chief pharmacy officer at Rite Aid, said in a statement.

“At Rite Aid, patient safety and compliance are important priorities,” Rob Cohen, president of Appriss Health, said in the statement. “We applaud Rite Aid’s efforts to rapidly deploy technologies to help reduce potential customer risk by leveraging the state PDMPs, utilizing an advanced analytics platform, and integrating these solutions seamlessly into their pharmacists’ daily workflow.”

I have quite a bit of experience with PDMP in different states, and I was very interested to see how this program could make it easier for pharmacists to navigate their state’s PDMP. I have always been a huge proponent of PDMPs, as they are a great help for prescribers, pharmacists, and, in many cases, members of law enforcement.

I caught up with Brad Bauer, senior vice president of Appriss Health, to ask him about NarxCare. During our discussion, he told me that NarxCare is a gateway mechanism to integrate into the PDMP systems in many states. PDMP information is great, but it arrives in a relatively large group of data. NarxCare takes those data and streamlines the controlled substance information to provide pharmacists with a quicker and more concise look at the controlled substance data for each patient.

The information from NarxCare arrives with a 3-digit score from 0 to 999. Depending on the score, pharmacists immediately know whether they need to probe further. Bauer stressed that NarxCare is another tool for pharmacists to use in the ongoing quest to reduce drug diversion, helping pharmacists examine the information, sometimes dig deeper, and then make informed decisions.

It is important to note that a high NarxCare score does not necessarily mean a drug-seeking behavior is involved. Patients with chronic pain understandably can have large amounts of controlled substances prescribed to them, and Bauer made it clear that this should in no way interfere with the legitimate prescribing of needed pain medication.

Appriss Health has many customers across the country and provides training to the chain drugstores on how to use the system to their advantage. Independent pharmacies also use NarxCare.

In addition, NarxCare is valuable for prescribers, as it allows them and pharmacists to communicate with each other about patients, Bauer said. I find this to be a key attribute of the system. As I have mentioned in previous columns, a communication gap often exists between pharmacists and prescribers. Given that pharmacists are the knowledge kings and queens of prescription drug information, it only makes sense that they communicate with prescribers. As a patient, I want that to happen between my doctor and pharmacist.

When I oversaw the Warren County Drug Task Force in Ohio, I was the supervisor who approved all the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System requests. I reviewed the information of likely hundreds of these data sets, so I understand what goes into trying to digest the PDMP information. Fortunately, my detectives ultimately examined the information and made decisions about criminal charges. Pharmacists likely deal with several of these requests daily, making NarxCare a welcome addition to their arsenal.

Cmdr John Burke is a 40-year veteran of law enforcement, the past president of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, and the president and cofounder of the International Health Facility Diversion Association.


Rite Aid integrates NarxCare analytics directly into its pharmacist’s workflow in 12 states [news release]. Camp Hill, PA: October 2, 2019: Appriss Health. Accessed November 20, 2019.

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