Eric Greitens

With one stroke of the pen Monday, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens did what state legislators failed to accomplish several times.

The executive order by Greitens creates a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), which will focus on doctors and pharmacies filling the prescriptions.

The new program will be administered by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).

State Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, says he supports the governor’s decision to be proactive in dealing with the opioid problem.

“The governor’s office called me over the weekend, so we knew the executive order was coming,” Schatz said. “I agree we have a problem and it needs to be addressed.”

Schatz sponsored a PDMP bill in the most recent legislative session and despite a colleague acting as a roadblock through much of the progress, the bill did pass the Senate and was moved over to the House where it failed to garner the needed support.

He said he would have liked to have seen the governor’s PDMP go through the Legislature to allow for debate, but is glad to see some program put in place.

“I back the governor for stepping out and making this a priority,” Schatz said. “There is still some opposition to a PDMP. Mainly the privacy issue and some argue over the effectiveness.”

With the executive order focusing on doctors and pharmacies, it may help to eliminate pill shopping by patients who travel all over the state looking for opioids.

“We do have doctors who are overprescribing,” Schatz said. “One of the biggest problems is doctors not knowing patient history. Now they will have to pay more attention to the database and not just go on what a patient tells them. That will be the key to the program’s success.”

PDMP Plan

“To implement the first phase of the PDMP, DHSS shall enter into contracts with pharmacy benefit management organizations to analyze prescriber and pharmacy prescription and dispensing data for schedule II-IV controlled substances, which includes opioids.

“Then DHSS will use the analyses for the purpose of identifying activity indicating that controlled substances are being inappropriately prescribed, dispensed or obtained; investigating such activity; and making referrals regarding such activity to appropriate government officials, including law enforcement and professional licensing boards.

“Prescription and dispensation information received by DHSS shall be confidential and shall be disclosed only as provided by state statute.

“For the second phase of the PDMP, DHSS shall promulgate a rule requiring dispensers to submit controlled substance prescription and dispensation information to DHSS or its designee for the purpose of identifying activity indicating that controlled substances are being inappropriately obtained, prescribed or dispensed; investigating such activity; and making referrals regarding such activity to appropriate government officials, including law enforcement and professional licensing boards.

“Finally, DHSS shall work with private companies, government entities, or others to purchase and utilize innovative technology and software to effectively and efficiently monitor controlled substance prescription information sent to DHSS or its designee under a prescription drug monitoring program.”