Federal Bill Would Reauthorize Program to Provide Funds for States’ Prescription Drug Databases

Just as Pennsylvania lawmakers consider a bill to launch an expanded prescription drug monitoring database, federal bipartisan legislation has been introduced to reauthorize the National All-Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (NASPER) program to support such state efforts. Pennsylvania’s Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) was among the senators who reintroduced the bill.

State Senate Bill 1180, to create a controlled substances database called the Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescriptions Program (ABC-MAP) within the Pennsylvania Department of Health, passed the Senate by a vote of 47-2 on May 6, 2014, and is now awaiting action in the House. While the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) supports SB 1180, we acknowledge that it’s not a perfect bill – and we have been working on amendments to improve it.

The NASPER program provides grants to states to maintain, improve, and expand their prescription drug monitoring programs.

“Over the past several months, I’ve visited with families, law enforcement officials, and medical professionals across Pennsylvania to learn about the root causes of our state’s prescription drug and heroin epidemic,” Sen. Toomey said. “Prescription drug monitoring programs work in stemming the illegal diversion of abused prescription drugs and I’m hopeful that the bipartisan reauthorization of NASPER will enhance these efforts because it will provide critical funding to coordinate state programs while also improving access to data for health care providers.”

PAMED is hopeful that if Pennsylvania enacts a prescription drug monitoring database bill this year, the NASPER program will be in place to help fund it going forward.