Calif. Officials Launch Upgraded Prescription Drug Tracking System
As expected, California Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) on Tuesday unveiled new upgrades to the state's prescription drug monitoring system, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The system is designed to reduce prescription drug misuse by curbing "doctor shopping" and making it easier for doctors, pharmacists and investigators to access patient prescription histories.
In the past, physicians and pharmacists had to wait days to obtain information from the state's Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System, or CURES.
However, the improvements will allow health professionals to instantly access patient drug use data from an online database.
The system contains the name of each prescribing doctor, the person receiving the drug, the quantity and the date. It includes more than 100 million entries for controlled substances such as anxiety medications, painkillers and sedatives.
Law enforcement officials also will have access to the database (Blankstein, Los Angeles Times, 9/16).
It is the largest prescription monitoring system in the country, according to the Oakland Tribune.Â
Supporters say the upgraded system will particularly benefit emergency department physicians who must act quickly when deciding whether to prescribe drugs.However, the online database also could raise concerns among some privacy advocates (Benca, Oakland Tribune, 9/15). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.