E-prescriptions for drugs on controlled substances list gets Assembly OK
STATE HOUSE – Rhode Island has already taken significant steps to promote the use of e-prescriptions. According to the RI Department of Health web site, 68 percent of Rhode Island prescribers, as of the end of 2009, were using an e-prescribing mechanism for new or renewal prescriptions and 34 percent of all Rhode Island prescriptions were being sent electronically. Rhode Island, the DoH site says, was the first state in the nation to have 100 percent of retail pharmacies capable of accepting electronic prescriptions.
Companion bills given final passage today in the House of Representatives and Senate will help pave the way for even greater use of e-prescribing in Rhode Island.
Passed and now headed to the governor’s desk are (2013-H5756B), sponsored by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) and (2013-S0647B), sponsored by Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence).
The bills, if enacted into law, require the director of the Department of Health to establish rules and regulations for adopting a system for electronic data transmission of prescriptions for substances on the various controlled substance schedules. While they are on the controlled substances lists, many of these items are commonly prescribed medications. Current state law, however, specifically refers to “written” prescriptions, making the legislation necessary to keep up with technological advances in the medical field.
Items on the Schedule II controlled substances list are those that have a high potential for abuse and include such drugs as Demerol, OxyContin and Percocet. Items on the Schedule III list are those with a lesser potential for abuse and include drugs such as Vicodin and Tylenol with Codeine. The Schedule IV controlled substances have a low potential for abuse and include such drugs as Xanax and Valium. Schedule V covers such items as cough preparations containing some codeine.
The legislation also adds a new section to the law, relative to an electronic prescription database to be maintained by the Department of Health, and spells out how and to whom information in that database can be made available.
For more information, contact:
Randall T. Szyba, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903