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Maryland's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program: New Requirements Will Affect Healthcare Providers

By: Courtney B. Amelung

The Maryland legislature recently made several modifications to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program ("PDMP"), which collects and securely stores information on drugs that contain controlled dangerous substances ("CDS") and are dispensed to patients in Maryland.  Some of these changes affect healthcare providers, including the following:

  1. Mandatory PDMP Registration for Prescribers and Pharmacists

    Licensed pharmacists in Maryland must be registered with the PDMP by July 1, 2017.  Practitioners who are authorized to prescribe CDS in Maryland must be registered with the PDMP before obtaining a new or renewal registration with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), or by July 1, 2017, whichever is sooner.  This requirement applies to physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, dentists, podiatrists, and veterinarians.  Finally, before registering with the PDMP, prescribers and pharmacists must complete a training course developed by the DHMH.  Prescribers and pharmacists who fail to comply with this requirement will be subject to disciplinary action by the appropriate licensing entity.  The new legislation does not specify, however, the type of disciplinary action that may be imposed.     

  2. Mandatory PDMP Use By Prescribers and Pharmacists

    Beginning July 1, 2018, prescribers in Maryland must, with some exceptions, review their patients’ PDMP data prior to initially prescribing an opioid or benzodiazepine and at least every ninety days thereafter, as long as the course of treatment continues to include prescribing an opioid or benzodiazepine.  Additionally, prescribers must document PDMP data in their patients’ medical records.  Beginning July 1, 2018, pharmacists in Maryland must review patient PDMP data prior to dispensing any CDS if they have a reasonable belief that a patient is seeking the drug for any purpose other than the treatment of an existing medical condition.   

  3. Prescribers and Pharmacists May Delegate PDMP Data Access

    Prescribers and pharmacists in Maryland may authorize a delegate to request prescription monitoring data on their behalf.  Delegates include both licensed practitioners without prescriptive authority and non-licensed clinical staff that are employed by, or under contract with, the same professional practice or facility where the prescriber or pharmacist practices.  Prescribers and pharmacists may delegate if: (1) they take reasonable steps to ensure that the delegate is competent in the use of the PDMP; (2) they remain responsible for ensuring that access to the PDMP is limited to purposes authorized by law; (3) they remain responsible for protecting the confidentiality of the prescription monitoring data; and (4) the decision whether to prescribe a monitored prescription drug for a patient remains with the prescriber or pharmacist and is reasonably informed by the prescription monitoring data obtained from the PDMP.

    Please contact Gregory M. Garrett or Courtney B. Amelung if you have any questions or would like additional information on these modifications to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.   

     

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