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Calif. upgrades Rx monitoring to high-tech database

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 28, 2009

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In response to two high-profile celebrity deaths involving fatal drug overdoses, California Attorney General Edmund "Jerry" Brown Jr. unveiled upgrades to the state's prescription drug monitoring program.

The new system, called the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES), will allow pharmacists, physicians and other lawful prescribers immediate access to a patient's controlled substance history. This replaces the old system, which required a written request that was either mailed or faxed, and could take several days to be answered.

"The recent deaths of Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson have made clear to the whole world just how dangerous prescription drug abuse can be," said Brown, in a prepared statement. He said he implemented the new system to help keep prescription drug seekers from doctor-shopping and abusing the drugs.

Each database record will contain the patient's name; the drug name, quantity, strength and number of refills; the date the prescription was filled; the doctor's name and DEA number; the pharmacy name and license number; and the prescription number. Prescribers can access a patient's record before writing a prescription.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/09/28/bibf0928.htm.

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