California Prescription-Drug Database Not Effective Because It’s Optional

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California’s prescription-drug database has not put a dent in drug abuse because enrollment is optional, reports The Bay Citizen. Of more than 30,000 doctors and pharmacists in the San Francisco Bay area, only 86 are signed up to use the system. Doctors say the system is slow and cumbersome and lacks the ability to analyze data systematically. The program shut down in November because of state budget cuts; it’s back online now.

Mike Small, a former administrator from the Investigation and Intelligence Bureau at the Department of Justice who inherited the task of running the California system from a former staff of 13, said that in just its third year, the system is already “old and falling apart.” He added, “Doctors don’t want to spend 10 minutes waiting when they have a patient in front of them.” Sixteen states use their prescription monitoring programs to send reports proactively send to pharmacists and prescribers about patients who appear to be doctor shopping, said a 2011 survey of state programs. Eight states send such reports to law enforcement agencies, and seven states send reports to licensing agencies

System to Curb Abuse of Prescription Painkillers Goes Unused – The Bay Citizen

Doctors who use the system said it is slow and cumbersome and lacks the capability to ana

lyze data systematically.

“It's hit or miss,” said Dr. Richard Gracer, who runs a pain management clinic in San Ramon. “Once in a while it's slow. Sometimes it gives the wrong answers. If the amount of doctors who should be using it signed up, it would probably die right away.”

Mike Small, a former administrator from the Investigation and Intelligence Bureau at the Department of Justice who inherited the task of running the California system from a former staff of 13, said that in just its third year, the system is already “old and falling apart.”

“Doctors don't want to spend 10 minutes waiting when they have a patient in front of them,” Small said.

Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/18ZTb)

System to Curb Abuse of Prescription Painkillers Goes Unused – The Bay Citizen