We support programs that help identify people at risk for opioid abuse and addiction.
Purdue Pharma was started by brothers who were doctors and who wanted to help people through medicine. With a physician now as our CEO, we continue to develop medications to help patients. We are acutely aware of the risks opioid pain medicines can create: even when taken as prescribed, they carry risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse that can lead to overdose and death. And we are deeply concerned about the toll the prescription and illicit opioid crisis is having on individuals and communities across the nation.
One tool—among many—that can help address the opioid crisis is a database that enables doctors and pharmacists to see prescription histories.1,2
It’s called a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). PDMPs are now operational in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Studies suggest that PDMPs can help reduce the number of prescriptions written for opioids and that PDMP use is associated with a significant decline in “doctor shopping” – obtaining prescriptions from multiple prescribers for abuse or illicit sale.1,2
But to make these more effective, they need to be easier for doctors and pharmacists to use. And information needs to be made available state-to-state so doctors and pharmacists can see a patient’s prescription history beyond their state’s borders.
To aid in this effort, we provided funding to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to allow states to connect to a platform and share PDMP data with other states at no cost. We’re also part of a public-private partnership that’s working to improve PDMP usability by reducing the number of steps prescribers and pharmacists need to take to consult and use PDMP information when determining if it’s clinically appropriate to prescribe or dispense an opioid.
While no single intervention alone will solve this crisis, partnerships, determination, and innovative approaches are steps in the right direction.
1 Bao Y, Pan Y, Taylor A. Prescription drug monitoring programs are associated with sustained reductions in opioid prescribing by physicians. Health Affairs (Project Hope). 35(2016)1045–1051. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5336205/.
2 Ali MM, Dowd W, Classen T. Prescription drug monitoring programs, nonmedical use of prescription drugs, and heroin use: evidence from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health. Addictive Behaviors. 69(2017)65–77.