Ohio Rx monitoring bill raises concerns

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 23, 2004

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The Ohio State Medical Assn. believes that a bill to create a prescription-monitoring database could help reduce the problem of "doctor shopping" by prescription drug abusers, but several concerns keep the organization from endorsing the legislation.

The bill would allow the state pharmacy board to decide which prescriptions will be monitored, but OSMA Director of Government Relations Bill Byers called this "too broad" and said OSMA would prefer monitoring to be limited to prescriptions for schedule II, III and IV narcotics.

Patient privacy is a big concern. "The bill would allow an officer to pull every prescription for OxyContin," Byers said. "We just think that might let law enforcement go on a fishing expedition without probable cause."

Other worries include concerns that doctors would be held liable for any problems if they failed to consult the database before writing a prescription. OSMA also is concerned over duplication of reporting for doctors who are also licensed pharmaceutical distributors.

Supporters of the bill say it's needed to reduce incidences in which residents of neighboring Kentucky, where prescription monitoring is in place, come north to acquire multiple prescriptions from Ohio doctors.

"We see the value in a program like this to reduce doctor shopping," Byers said. "We're not necessarily neutral because we raised concerns, but we may not be opposed if our concerns are addressed."

Note: This item originally appeared at

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