What is a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)?

A PDMP is a tool that can be used to address prescription drug diversion and abuse. PDMPs serve multiple functions, including: patient care tool; drug epidemic early warning system; and drug diversion and insurance fraud investigative tool. They help prescribers avoid drug interactions and identify drug‐seeking behaviors or “doctor shopping”. PDMPs can also be used by professional licensing boards to identify clinicians with patterns of inappropriate prescribing and dispensing, and to assist law enforcement in cases of controlled substance diversion.

At the same time, protecting patient privacy is of the utmost importance. PDMPs ensure protection of patient information just as well as, if not better than, any other medical record. Law enforcement may not access patient‐specific PDMP data unless they have an active investigation, and healthcare providers can access only the PDMP data relevant to their patients.

Prescription drug monitoring programs are one of the most promising tools available to address prescription drug misuse, abuse, and diversion. PDMPs are state-run electronic databases that provide critical health information to physicians and other health care providers about an individual’s history of using controlled substance prescriptions. This information can be used to avoid inappropriate prescribing, identify drug-seeking behavior, and allows providers to intervene when there are signs of prescription drug misuse.

Currently, more than 35 states have operational PDMPs and because not all states have a PDMP, data sharing and interoperability between states has not been implemented. Programs have been initiated in clinical practice to have the ability to share data with PDMPs in other states. Incorporating PDMPs into a comprehensive prescription drug diversion and abuse prevention strategy that includes education for healthcare providers, patients, and the public on prescription drug abuse; consumer‐friendly, environmentally responsible medication‐disposal programs; and smart law enforcement aimed at reducing pill mills and doctor shopping, can reduce the consequences of prescription drug abuse in our Nation.

The Massachusetts Online Prescription Monitoring Program 

The Massachusetts Online Prescription Monitoring Program (MA Online PMP) is a secure website that supports safe prescribing and dispensing. A licensed prescriber or pharmacist may obtain authorization, through completion and submission of an enrollment form, to view the prescription history of a patient for the past year. The MA Online PMP also assists state and federal investigative agencies in addressing prescription drug diversion by supporting ongoing, specific controlled substances-related investigations.

The Massachusetts Prescription Awareness Tool (MassPAT) is now live!