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    Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Benefit Pharmacists

    PDMPs help patients, but they can also help pharmacists.

    Many states now require providers to review Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) databases when prescribing controlled substances to patients. So how is this affecting pharmacists?

    During CBI’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs conference in Baltimore on February 7, Tomson George, RPh, Senior Manager, Professional Affairs, Walgreens Co., shared how the chain is approaching PDMPs and how that approach is affecting its pharmacists.

    “What PDMPs do for our pharmacists is give them that additional insight to help make that decision in a difficult [medication] situation,” said George. The information ‘empowers’ pharmacists to do what’s best for patients, regardless of what the doctor says, in some cases.”

    Overall, he said, PDMPs help pharmacists exercise professional judgment and ensure safe dispensing of controlled substance prescriptions and provide a resource for identifying trends when encountering a patient of concern.

    Related article: More than 40% of physicians not using Rx monitoring sites

    Surge in pharmacist PDMP usage

    PDMP usage by pharmacists has increased dramatically since 2011, when few providers and pharmacists were using PDMPs, said George. Reasons for lack of use included:

    • Very challenging PDMP registration processes 
    • Low technical maturity of PDMPs 
    • Lack of awareness and proper training.

    This began to change in 2012, when more discussion regarding PDMPs occurred at the state level, said George. “That’s really the year I think we saw lots of this evolution.” He noted more movement in PDMP standardization, more usage of unsolicited reports by PDMPs, enhanced access to PDMPs, and more interstate data sharing between PDMPs.

    Overall, in 2013, the percentage of registered prescribers in PDMPs increased 28%, and the percentage of registered pharmacists increased 38%.  

    Today, Walgreens pharmacists use PDMPs almost daily, said George.

    Up next: The questions every pharmacist should be asking


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