On September 8, 2015, the House of Representatives passed a bill intended to combat prescription drug abuse through the reauthorization of a program that provides federal grants to states for prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP). The National All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (NASPER) Reauthorization Act, (H.R. 1725), authored by Rep. Edward Whitfield (R-Ky.) and Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy (D-Mass.), passed the House by voice vote. Under NASPER, funding will be provided to states for the purpose of encouraging state use of prescription drug monitoring programs. These programs collect and distribute data about the prescribing and dispensing of prescription drugs. The bill authorizes the appropriation of $10 million for each of the fiscal years from 2016 through 2020 to provide for the grants.

A PDMP is a statewide electronic database which collects designated data on prescription drugs dispensed in the state. Generally under PDMPs, pharmacies that dispense controlled substances and providers who prescribe controlled substances are required to register with the state PDMPs and (for pharmacies and providers who dispense controlled substances from their offices) to report the dispensation of such prescriptions to the PDMP electronic online database.

The information to be reported under state PDMPs commonly includes following:

  • Recipient’s name
  • Recipient’s address
  • National drug code number of the controlled substance
  • Date of dispensation
  • Quantity dispensed
  • Dispenser’s U.S. DEA registration number
  • Prescriber’s U.S. DEA number
  • Any additional information that may be required by the applicable state agency

The frequency of the reporting varies from state to state, and ranges from daily to monthly.

The specified state regulatory, administrative, or law enforcement agency tasked with running the PDMP distributes the data to individuals who are authorized under state law to receive the information for purposes of their profession. PDMPs are used by states to address prescription drug abuse, addiction and diversion, and may serve several purposes such as to:

  • Support access to legitimate medical use of controlled substances
  • Identify and deter or prevent drug abuse and diversion
  • Facilitate and encourage the identification, intervention with, and treatment of persons addicted to prescription drugs
  • Inform public health initiatives through outlining of use and abuse trends
  • Educate individuals about PDMPs and the use, abuse and diversion of and addiction to prescription drugs

The next step for the bill is consideration by the Senate.