Bill will provide drug data

Oklahoma Sen. Gary Stanislawski said a bill allowing access to statistical data about drug prescriptions has been approved by both chambers and is one step closer to becoming law.  

Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, is principal author of Senate Bill 1065, which deals with the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP).  The database is maintained by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (OBNDD) to track prescriptions of specific types of drugs, like Vicodin.

Physicians, pharmacists and law enforcement can access the PMP to search a patient’s prescription history.  The purpose was to identify patients who would visit multiple doctors to obtain duplicate prescriptions, raising flags about possible addiction or the illegal distribution of dangerous drugs.

“When the PMP was created, there were concerns about the inappropriate disclosure of private medical information, and so it was a misdemeanor to share any of this data with the public or the press,” Stanislawski said. 

“The unintended consequence was that it made sharing non-identifying statistical data illegal, even though there are many positive, legitimate uses for the information,” he added.

SB 1065 changes the law so that statistics can be shared while protecting private medical information.

“Mental health professionals, universities and other researchers would be able to track increases in certain kinds of prescription drug abuse and identify trends that could be extremely helpful from not only a law enforcement perspective but for treatment and academic analysis,” Stanislawski said.  “This could provide us with some very important tools in our efforts to fight prescription drug abuse.”

SB 1065, co-authored by Rep. David Derby, R-Owasso, and Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove, is now awaiting consideration by Gov. Mary Fallin.