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Prescription Monitoring Program to Reduce Opioid Abuse in VA

Purdue Pharma will partner with the Commonwealth of Virginia to enhance its prescription monitoring program to address opioid abuse.

VA and Purdue Partner to Fight Opioid Abuse

Source: Thinkstock

By Thomas Beaton

- A three way partnership between Purdue Pharma, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, and the Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources will enhance utilization of a state prescription monitoring program (PMP) to reduce the rate of opioid abuse within the region, the collaboration announced this week.

“The epidemic of opioid addiction is a public health emergency in Virginia, and combating it is a top priority for my administration,” said Gov. McAuliffe. “The Prescription Monitoring Program is a critical prevention tool that helps curb abuse of prescription medications, and I applaud this enhancement that makes the PMP easier and more likely for physicians to use.”

The Commonwealth of Virginia will connect the state’s prescription monitoring system to the EHRs used by 18,000 of Virginia’s prescribers and 400 pharmacists in an effort to give providers more patient information before they prescribe controlled substances.

Virginia PMP users are provided a patient’s prescription history for Schedule II-V prescriptions for the prior 12 months as reported by all in-state Virginia pharmacies and all out-of-state pharmacies that deliver to Virginia patients.

“The PMP is an important resource to help us track prescription data and spot potential abuse,” said Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Bill Hazel. “Integrating that data with electronic health records strengthens the PMP and is an important step in our ongoing battle against the epidemic of opioid abuse.”

Purdue Pharma will provide funding to accelerate the implementation of the technology and will work with stakeholders to make PMPs interoperable across state lines.  

“Purdue Pharma has a long history of supporting and funding public health initiatives like the use of prescription drug monitoring programs to help reduce the misuse and abuse of opioids,” said Mark Timney, President and Chief Executive Officer, Purdue Pharma L.P. “We recognize the immediate need for technology innovations, such as this, to improve access to the PMP data through workflow integration and enhance the effectiveness of these tools.”

The project also aims to improve the flow of data between the prescription monitoring system and providers’ EHRs.  

“This initiative will put information that doctor’s need to make better informed prescribing decisions at their fingertips,” said Gail Cawkwell, MD, PhD, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Purdue Pharma L.P. “The technology provides important information about possible abuse, but also highlights patients that may have higher risks of overdose.”

The PMP agreement is the latest in a line of programs across the country addressing the opioid crisis.

Other state monitoring incentives helping to combat the opioid crisis include an allotment from The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee of $261 million targeting the opioid epidemic.

Opioids have been reaching epidemic levels, but research and current policy has shown that effective e-prescription servicing, predictive analytics, and focus on patient-centered care are methods that can effectively wane opioid abuse.  

These and similar calls to action, including the Surgeon General's pledge to effectively combat opioid abuse, are attempting to reduce new cases of opioid misuse and improve pain management strategies. The Virginia PMP hopes to set a strong example for future collaborations between private companies and state governments in the fight against opioid addiction.

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