Nearly 16,000 medical professionals are registered to write narcotics prescriptions in Oklahoma. About 1,500 of them accounted for nearly three-fourths of all controlled substance prescriptions filled in 2013, officials said.
The prescriptions filled in 2013 were issued to 142,369 patients. That’s an average of 68 prescriptions per patient. Since many controlled substances require a new prescription with every refill, a patient with chronic problems would typically log 12 prescriptions per year for each controlled substance he or she receives.
Top 10 Prescribed Narcotics
Although the roster of controlled dangerous substances numbers in the hundreds, 10 drugs account for nearly two-thirds of such prescriptions filled in Oklahoma pharmacies in 2013.
|Source: Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs|
Last year’s PMP prescriptions were written by 12,096 doctors, osteopaths, dentists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and other medical professionals. Of those, 3,529 registered prescribers ran PMP checks during the year.
Some of the prescribers were located out of state and can’t access Oklahoma’s PMP system before writing prescriptions, bureau officials said. Some were Oklahoma practitioners who write only a handful of controlled substance prescriptions per year and aren’t necessarily expected to check the PMP regularly.
Officials say the usage statistics understate prescriber participation in the PMP system, which is designed to deter “doctor shopping” by allowing doctors to see every narcotic prescription filled by a patient during the previous 12 months.
In some clinics, for example, one staff person might be running PMP checks for several doctors but entering only one registration number for each check. Also, one PMP check might apply to several prescriptions being written at the same time by a single doctor.
Bureau officials said about 74 percent of Oklahoma prescribers who wrote more than 10 controlled substance prescriptions logged into the PMP system at some point last year.
Fallin’s office is working with lawmakers, law enforcement authorities, health officials and medical practitioners to devise a collaborative strategy acceptable to all sides. It is likely to include new restrictions on prescribing practices, tougher penalties for offenders and more public and professional outreach campaigns.