Five New England Governors Vow To Boost Rx Drug Data Sharing

June 19, 2014 in News

On Tuesday, the governors of five New England states announced an effort to better share prescription drug data to address an increase in prescription drug-related overdoses and deaths, Reuters reports.

Initiative Details

The participating states are:

  • Connecticut;
  • Massachusetts;
  • New Hampshire;
  • Rhode Island; and
  • Vermont (Malone, Reuters, 6/17).

Following a private discussion at Brandeis University, the governors said they will look into expanding prescription data sharing in part to prevent “doctor shopping,” in which patients visit multiple physicians to avoid prescription limits.

The governors said they will push to require registration in the Prescription Monitoring Program, an online database that lets physicians check patients’ prescription drug histories. In addition, the governors will create a working group of high-level state officials to develop a framework for sharing prescription data and improving access to treatment.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) said the group will offer recommendations by the end of September.

Brandeis’ Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Center of Excellence will work with the governors to implement their proposals, according to John Eadie, director of the center.

The governors said they also plan to reach out to officials in eastern Canada to include them in a transnational partnership.

Governors’ Comments

Patrick said, “While we are all addressing opioid addition independently, we feel we would be better off doing so collaboratively.”

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) said that opioid misuse “strains our families. It hurts the productivity of our workers. It’s undermining the safety of our communities,” adding, “We need to work together across boundaries, across silos” (MacQuarrie, Boston Globe, 6/18).

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) said, “The problem is no worse in New England than it is in other states. I think the difference is that we happened to have a group of governors who recognize that this is a crisis that affects all the people we work for every day as governors” (Reuters, 6/17). 

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