This study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, collected and characterized all statutes and regulations effective from 1998 through 2011 governing the operation of prescription monitoring programs (PMPs), state-level databases that collect patient-specific prescription information, which have been suggested as a tool for reducing prescription drug overdose fatalities.
PMP characteristics vary greatly among states and across time. The authors observed an increase in the types and frequency of data required to be reported, the types of individuals permitted to access PMP data, and the percentage of PMPs authorized to proactively identify outlier prescribers and patients. As of 2011, 10 states required PMPs to report suspicious activity to law enforcement, while only three required reporting to the patient’s physician. None required linkage to drug treatment or required all prescribers to review PMP data before prescribing. Few explicitly address data retention.