Pharmacists ask state for ‘flexibility’ on pain pill program deadline

Pharmacists ask state for 'flexibility' on pain pill program deadline

By: Wes Rapaport

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Pharmacists are asking Texas lawmakers for an extension on the deadline to implement the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program. The program helps medication prescribers and pharmacists track patients’ controlled substance history.

Those pharmacists and prescribers will be required to integrate into the Prescription Monitoring Program by Sept. 1, 2019. But industry representatives told lawmakers they do not think they will be ready.

“Build in some flexibility into the timeline to allow for more system integration, I think there would be benefit in that,” Walgreens senior manager of professional affairs Thompson George requested to the legislators in a hearing of the Interim Joint Committee on Prescribing & Dispensing Controlled Substances.

The program’s deadline has received some pushback, according to state Board of Pharmacy executive director, Allison Benz.

“People do not think that the systems will be ready to handle that,” she said after the hearing. “We are asking for the legislature to fund some enhancements to the program that would allow for integration into the system which would allow it to automatically collect the data.”

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