Use Technology, Not Mandates, To Address Doctor Shopping and Opioid Diversion

March 16, 2017

TO: Senate Health and Human Services Committee

Sen. Charles Schwertner, MD, Chairman
Sen. Carlos Uresti, Vice Chairman
Sen. Dawn Buckingham
Sen. Konni Burton
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst
Sen. Borris Miles
Sen. Charles Perry
Sen. Van Taylor
Sen. Kirk Watson

RE:  SB 1412 (Sen. Schwertner), Relating to the powers and duties of certain prescribers and dispensers of controlled substances and to the regulatory agencies that issue a license, certification, or registration to the prescribers or dispensers. 

SB 316 (Sen. Hinojosa) Relating to powers and duties of certain prescribers and dispensers of controlled substances and the regulatory agencies that issue a license, certification, or registration to the prescriber or dispenser. 

Senators Schwertner, Hinojosa and members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, we appreciate the important public policy issues raised by these bills. As professionals, prescribers, and advocates for our patients, we have an obligation to work with you to address these issues, mindful of the impacts these bills will have on our patient encounters.

We agree that issues related to “doctor shopping”, appropriate prescribing of controlled substances and their diversion for non-medical uses are critical to address. And, we believe there is a way to harness the significant abilities of the new Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) administered by the Board of Pharmacy to achieve progress without placing significant burdens on prescribers and pharmacists alike.

To this end, we support legislation that will: 

  • Give explicit authority to the Board of Pharmacy to push out alerts to prescribers and pharmacists when it detects patterns of prescribing and dispensing that may constitute “doctor shopping”;
  • Require the licensing boards for all prescribers to furnish the necessary information, including email addresses, to the Board of Pharmacy for the purpose of automatically registering each prescriber with the PMP, greatly expanding the push out alerts;
  • Provide information to each licensing board when its licensees have been included in these push out alerts and give further direction that each Board has the specific authorization to use the PMP to examine licensee prescribing patterns;
  • Require each of the prescriber licensing boards to post appropriate guidelines for opioid prescribing for their licensees;
  • Improve the data reporting on controlled substance prescribing provided by the pharmacies for the PMP from the current 7 days to 1 business day.
  • Require that wholesaler delivery data already provided to the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) also be provided to the Board of Pharmacy. The Board is directed to use this with the dispensing information already in the PMP for the purpose of comparing delivery and dispensing data to highlight geographic areas for further examination and investigation. 

Our organizations look forward to vetting these issues at the hearing and working with you to find a solution that works for our patients and for all Texans.

Texas Medical Association Texas Radiological Society
Texas College of Emergency Physicians Texas Society of Pathologists
Texas Orthopaedic Association Texas Academy of Family Physicians
Texas Pain Society Texas Pediatric Society
Texas Osteopathic Medical Association Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians
Texas Urological Society Texas Neurological Society
Texas Ophthalmological Association Texas Society of Anesthesiologists
Texas Dental Association Texas Society of Plastic Surgeons
Texas Podiatric Medical Association Texas Nurses Association
Texas Optometric Association Texas Veterinary Medical Association
Texas Association of Obstetricians & Gynecologists Texas Academy of Physician Assistants
Texas Society of Gastroenterogy and Endoscopy

Last Updated On

March 25, 2017