California To Create Drug Tracking Database To Reduce Rx Drug Abuse
Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) is expected to announce today that his office will put the state's prescription tracking database on a secure Web site that health care providers can access to view patients' prescription histories, the AP/San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The online database is intended to make it harder for patients to abuse prescription drugs by obtaining multiple prescriptions from different doctors.
Physicians and pharmacists will be able to instantly access more than 86 million drug prescriptions once the state's Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation system goes online.
Under the current system, physicians and pharmacists submit prescription information requests to the attorney general's office by fax or telephone, and it can take a couple of days to receive the data. The attorney general's office receives more than 60,000 prescription history requests annually (Tafoya Mohajer, AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/3).
A 2007 feasibility study, partially funded by Kaiser Permanente, found that it would cost about $3 million to create and operate the online drug tracking program for three years (Benca, Contra Costa Times, 6/3).
Funding to create the database will come from the Troy and Alana Pack Foundation, and the state Department of Justice will cover maintenance costs, according to Brown's proposal. A timeline for creating the Web site was not provided (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/3).
According to the feasibility study, the department will verify users' identities and issue a unique, encrypted password to allow access to the records. All passwords will expire periodically for added security, the study says.
Kathy Ellis of the Department of Justice said details about law enforcement access to the system have not been worked out. But she said access likely will be provided on a case-by-case basis to prevent "fishing" in the system (Contra Costa Times, 6/3).