The Mississippi Board of Pharmacy has operated a prescription drug-monitoring program, known as PMP, since 2005. Facts provided by the pharmacy board:
-- The state Legislature authorized the program and federal money was used in its startup.
-- The PMP is used to record prescriptions for controlled substances so investigators and health-care officials can identify those who violate prescription-drug laws.
-- Professional regulations require pharmacists, doctors and nurse practitioners to register so they can log in to the computer database. Under state law, only pharmacists are required to input data, but the other health-care professionals can add data and check records if they wish.
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-- The program has grown from 9,000 to 12,000 registered users in the past year and average daily inquiries have increased from 1,000 to 3,000.
-- Investigators can become registered users after their credentials are verified.
-- Misuse of the PMP is punishable by a $50,000 fine.
-- Only three people have been brought before the pharmacy board for misuse of the PMP.
-- The PMP costs the pharmacy board $350,000 to $450,000 per year.
-- Pharmacy board members have been working with legislators and related health-care associations on a plan for "like agencies" to help pay the costs.
-- More than 25 states have a PMP, with several sharing their records.
-- Mississippi's PMP can access people's prescriptions filled in several states, including all neighboring states except Alabama.
-- Robin Fitzgerald