Should Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Exist?

Playing Are Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Helping?

The Doctors discuss prescription drug monitoring programs and if they are useful. ER physician Dr. Travis Stork explains a lot of states have these programs where doctors are required to look at a database before they prescribe opioids.

The Doctors recently spoke about a bus driver who had over 16,000 pills prescribed to him in over four years and when a doctor alerted the school board of this, the driver turned around and sued him for violating his privacy. This brings up the question, should certain roles like drivers, pilots, or doctors, where the lives of others are in their hands, be looked at more closely? What about HIPPA violations and privacy?

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OB/GYN Dr. Nita Landry believes there should be a system where you can run the names of these people in these positions and see about their drug use. Dr. Travis explains currently, that isn't possible for bus drivers. There are requirements in place such as obtaining a commercial driver’s license, a school bus endorsement, a criminal background check, and a medical certificate but prescription history is not part of it.

Dr. Travis plays devil’s advocate and says what if someone has a broken leg and is prescribed opioids? He would hate to see it get to the point where then, that person couldn't get hired. Medical data does need to be protected and removing this privacy is a slippery slope. Dr. Nita says in the case of the bus driver, shouldn’t that be known? Dr. Travis says it’s the doctors who are prescribing those pills who should be defending their actions, not the doctor who called it out!

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The Doctors seem to agree that certain professions, like bus drivers, should be held to this higher standard but the question is how to do that. Who’s the judge and jury? “I do think this highlights a need to better screen at times,” says Dr. Travis. Lastly, he acknowledges all of the great bus drivers out there and thanks them for protecting young kids every day.