Senate Approves Bill to Reduce Opioid Abuse Through Stronger Prescription Oversight

Harrisburg – The Senate sent a bill to the governor’s desk this week to strengthen oversight of opioid prescriptions and reduce the risk of drug abuse, according to Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24), who supported the measure.

In 2014, lawmakers created the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) to give prescribers, dispensers and the Attorney General more information about all filled prescriptions for controlled substances. The system helps healthcare providers safely prescribe opioids, as well as identify patients who may need treatment or individuals who are illegally diverting prescriptions.

Senate Bill 432 would expand the use of the system by allowing Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) to access the PDMP in order to provide another critical layer of oversight. In addition to saving lives by identifying potential prescription drug abuse, the measure would save taxpayer dollars by identifying fraud and reducing the need for drug treatment and rehabilitation among Medicaid recipients.

The bill also requires an MCO to notify the Attorney General and the Department of Human Services if a controlled substance is believed to be prescribed or dispensed fraudulently.

“Pennsylvania is grappling hard with the deadly opioid epidemic, and we’ve had some success. Expanding oversight to include Medicaid Managed Care Organizations provides another tool to prevent fraud and identify people in need of help,” said Mensch.

Senate Bill 432 builds on recent efforts to combat the deadly heroin and opioid epidemic that claimed the lives of more than 4,200 Pennsylvanians in 2018.

In 2019, the Senate passed a package of bills to combat the state’s heroin and opioid epidemic by improving prescription drug monitoring, limiting opioid prescriptions, targeting drug dealers and taking other steps to limit the damage inflicted by the addiction crisis in Pennsylvania communities.

For more information on Senator Mensch’s legislation, visit www.senatormensch.com.  State updates can also be found on Senator Mensch’s Facebook at facebook.com/PASenatorBobMensch/ or Twitter @SenatorMensch

 

CONTACT: Madison Scarfaro mscarfaro@pasen.gov  (215) 541-2388