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Iowa Fights Prescription Drug Abuse

State leaders in Iowa have increased their efforts to stop prescription drug abuse. New laws exist in the state to prevent doctor shopping and there has been progress. Since 2008, physicians and pharmacists have had access to Iowa’s Prescription Monitoring Program. New legislation in Iowa hopes to connect the system with existing systems in other states.

“This would really help prescribers and pharmacists that are on the borders of Iowa better track patients that may be seeing prescribers and using pharmacies in multiple states,” said Kate Gainer of the Iowa Pharmacy Association.

Gainer said the Prescription Monitoring Program is working in Iowa because the number of people doctor shopping is decreasing. In 2008, 53 people in Iowa asked at least 15 different physicians for the same prescription. Three years later, in 2011, that number was down to just nine people.

“The PMP is especially helpful in situations like emergency rooms where prescribers may not individually know the prescribers who are coming to see them. So they’d be able to access the PMP for a patient that is previously unknown to them and see if they have a history of visiting multiple ERs or seeing multiple doctors for the same prescriptions.”

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