Arizona E-Prescribing Mandate Effective January 1, 2019

Alanna Diffendal
August 9, 2018

Arizona is officially the next state that will be mandating e-Prescribing of controlled substances. States in various parts of the country are jumping on board to help combat the growing opioid abuse epidemic in the United States. In 2017, Arizona experienced the highest number of deaths due to overdoses ever prompting the government to take notice and action.

According to the Arizona government, 75% of current heroin users in treatment began their abusing painkillers.  Which drove officials to start solving the problem from the source – prescription medications. Governor Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency in June of 2017 and since has mandated the use of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).

Prescribers were required to review a patient’s medication history for the previous 12 months within Arizona’s PDMP database before prescribing a controlled medication. Then prescribers must report a newly prescribed controlled medication to the PDMP. The goal of prescribers checking the PDMP before prescribing a substance is to help pinpoint which patients are doctor shopping and decrease the number of controlled substances being prescribed.

To help combat opioid abuse even further, the AZ Government has declared the mandatory use of a certified Electronic Prescribing solution by January 1, 2019, when prescribing Schedule II substances. Implementing the required use of an e-prescribing solution will reduce paper prescriptions which are too commonly stolen, altered, and forged to create fraudulent prescriptions. A waiver will be accessible by prescribers who face hardships and other unusual circumstances.

In addition to the mandatory use of PDMPs and e-prescribing solutions, prescribers will be required to attend at least three hours of opioid-related Continuing Medical Education (CME) yearly.

Other additional mandates to help combat opioid abuse:
  • Limit of opioid dose levels to <90 MME/day with exemptions for:
    • Continuation of a prior prescription order issued within the previous 60 days.
    • Cancer, trauma, burn, hospice, end-of-life care, or medication assisted patients.
    • Prescribers that believe it is medically necessary to receive a daily dose above the 90 MME/day will have to consult with a board-certified specialist.
    • Prescribers board-certified in pain management.
  • 5-day limit on initial opioid prescriptions
  • Easily identifiable “red caps” will be added to all opioid medications that are addictive
  • Pharmacists & veterinarians must check for multiple prescribers and place limits on initial fills. If they suspect doctor shopping, they must report the case to the police.
  • Hospice providers have the authority to properly dispose of opioids after a patient’s death
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