LINCOLN--A bill that would change provisions relating to prescription drug monitoring was heard by the Health and Human Services Committee at the Nebraska State Capitol on Feb. 23. The bill attempts to clarify unintentional interpretations relating to veterinary pharmacies.
The purpose of the Nebraska Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) is to prevent the misuse of substances and to monitor and care for the treatment of human patients.
Currently, Nebraska requires all dispensers of pharmaceuticals to submit daily reports of all prescription drugs. The current statue does not differentiate between different types of pharmacies like a veterinary pharmacy or nursing home pharmacy.
Under the current law, veterinary pharmacies are required to report any drugs relating to their patients, regardless of species. This has included non-human, non-controlled drugs being reported to the PDMP.
Approximately 20 different pharmacies prescribe to animals in the state of Nebraska. Examples include Pet's Choice Pharmacy and Petco.
The issue lies in drugs being reported that aren't being used by humans, but rather by animals. The pharmacies have no way of differentiating who is receiving the drug, human or animal, leaving the reported usage incorrect and creating errors in PDMP data.
Sen. John Kuehn of Kearney, who introduced LB 1057, told the Health and Human Services Committee, "There is no reason for pharmacies to report about non-controlled substances for animals to the PDMP," adding that the purpose of the PDMP "is not to track heart worm medication."
Another problem with the current statute is the definition of the term "dispenser."
The statute can be interpreted to say that a dispenser does not include a person who delivers a prescription drug in an inpatient hospital or emergency care. This could prevent a pharmacist who works in a hospital from gaining access to the PDMP.
Kuehn said that pharmacists are a critical part of the health care team and that they should be able to check and utilize the data. The clarification would allow these pharmacists to access the PDMP and provide valuable health care services to all patients in Nebraska.
According the the senator, the most important reason for the provision is to make sure that an important system like the PDMP is using the data correctly and for its original intent: to allow all health care providers to better serve their patients through accurate data collection and information.
Also testifying for the bill was Deb Bass, the chief executive officer of the Nebraska Health Information Initiative. "We believe that Nebraskans benefit when their health care providers have valid data on the medication that their patients are taking," she told the committee. "Better data will help with identifying med errors and that leads to better and safer outcomes at a lower cost for Nebraska."
No one spoke against the bill, and the committee took no immediate action.