Columbia City Council Establishes Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

Mar 8, 2017

Credit KBIA

City Council decided in a unanimous vote on Monday to join a handful of cites across Missouri to track prescription drugs. A database of prescriptions will prevent patients from seeking multiple prescriptions from different doctors by coordinating records. 

“If a patient is seeing multiple physicians, either appropriately or inappropriately, the physicians would have access to the other physicians that that patient might be seeing, what pharmacies that patient is going to and they have to make sure there isn’t duplications or someone trying to game the system,” said Ron Fitzwater, chief executive officer at the Missouri Pharmacy Association.

Curbing the abuse of opioid drugs was outlined as a major concern by residents in focus groups and community surveys for the 2013 community health assessment, said Eric Stann, community relations specialist for Columbia Boone County Public Health and Human Services.

“Substance abuse, including prescription drugs, is a problem in our city and county,” Stann said. “Between 2010 and 2014 we [the department] saw emergency room discharges for opioid diagnosis increase 113.6 percent in Boone County as compared to the state of Missouri where the increase was just 19 percent.”

Fitzwater said that the city and countywide databases are the next best option since Missouri doesn’t currently have a statewide monitoring program.

“Missouri is the only state without a statewide prescription drug monitoring program and Columbia sits on a major interstate in the middle of the state. As a result, we could see a higher risk of out of state people trying to gain prescriptions from Columbia and Boone County from multiple providers,” Stann said.

Currently there are a few proposed bills in the House and Senate that would implement a statewide program. Legislation has been proposed in the past but concerns about privacy stalled the bills.