McKesson has expedited the development of a national prescription safety-alert system

To help identify patients who are at risk for opioid overuse, abuse, addiction, or misuse, we are committed to investing in the development of a national prescription safety-alert system (RxSAS).

RxSAS would be a nationwide clinical alert system that uses patient prescription history to identify patients at risk for opioid overuse, abuse, addiction or misuse. The system would provide proactive, real-time clinical alerts, integrated into pharmacist workflow, across state lines. RxSAS would address shortcomings of existing state and federal clinical decision support systems and save time for pharmacists and prescribers.

Here’s how it would work:

  1. The RxSAS would employ patient prescription history to identify prescriptions that may indicate potential abuse or misuse (e.g., doctor shopping, pharmacy shopping) or identify certain drug interactions.
  2. The pharmacy would receive real-time clinical alerts from the RxSAS during claim processing, flagging for the pharmacist that s/he should gather additional information before dispensing (such follow-up could include checking the state prescription drug monitoring program [PDMP] or contacting the prescribing clinician).
  3. The RxSAS would include all prescriptions, all pharmacies (including “attempts” to fill prescriptions that are rejected, and cash transactions) and would be nationwide (across state lines). In this way, it would help solve for doctors and pharmacists who don’t have full visibility into their patients’ script patterns, thereby helping reduce inadvertent or intentional opportunities for misuse.

The concept behind the RxSAS was conceived by the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP), a non-profit organization that sets standards for processing pharmacy claims. McKesson is part of the Health Innovation Alliance’s Opioid Safety Alliance, which has been working toward making this innovation a reality.

What’s next for RxSAS?

Statutory or regulatory changes are likely necessary to successfully implement the RxSAS. McKesson is working closely with numerous stakeholders and fellow technology providers to explore ways to build the RxSAS, once the necessary statutory or regulatory changes are enacted.

The introduction of the Analyzing and Leveraging Rx Transactions (ALERT) Act by Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH) and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), which would direct the FDA to exercise its REMS authority and require manufacturers to provide controlled substances only to pharmacies and healthcare providers that participate in a prescription safety alert system, is a positive step forward to identifying and helping at-risk patients.

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