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Prescription Monitoring Program
PMP Education Toolkit

Young female pharmacist


More people die from prescription drug overdose than from car accidents. That puts prescribers and pharmacists on the front lines of the nation’s fight to keep people safe from drug overdose and death.  In Virginia, the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) centralizes the dispensing history of patients prescribed Schedule II – IV controlled substances, allowing a prescriber or pharmacist to quickly review a patient’s prescription history.

Use the links in the table of contents of this PMP education toolkit to learn more about the mission of Virginia’s PMP to promote the appropriate use of controlled substances for legitimate medical purposes while deterring the misuse, abuse and diversion of controlled substances.

Find fast PMP facts on topics including—

  • New developments such as work flow integration and delegation making it easier to use PMP
  • Interoperability with other state Prescription Monitoring Programs
  • Legislative updates

PMP’s regularly updated education toolkit also includes statistical data including charts and graphs, changes in regulation for registered users of the system, feature articles for patients and quotes for news organizations that are just a click away.

Benefits of Virginia's PMP

(Click Here to download PDF version)


  • Virginia's Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) is used by prescribers and pharmacists to better inform their treatment and dispensing decisions.
  • In 2015, nearly 5 million inquiries were made to the PMP by users of the system.


  • PMP helps prescribers and pharmacists make safe prescribing and dispensing decisions for more than 8 million Virginians.
  • Morphine Milligram Equivalent (MME) daily dose ratings have been added to PMP reports to identify patients at risk for overdose.
  • PMP database provides prescribers with quantitative data to monitor patient compliance with their treatment plan.
  • PMP is a tool used to reduce the illicit use of controlled substances.


  • PMP is a patient management tool available to prescribers and pharmacists who write or fill prescriptions for schedule II - IV drugs. Accessible 24/7, the software provides complete controlled substance dispensing histories.
  • PMP prescription information is available to other authorized users of the database who assist with disciplinary investigations conducted by health regulatory boards and, when appropriate, law enforcement entities.


  • PMP is a member of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Prescription Monitoring Interconnect Program (PMPi). This network allows practitioners to share prescription information across state lines. As of July 2016 Virginia's PMP is connected with 22 other state PMPs, including the District of Columbia and border states Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia and Maryland.
  • PMP is presently integrated into the work flow of pharmacists at one national pharmacy chain, and work is underway in collaboration with several health systems to integrate PMP data into their Electronic Medical Records.
  • Changes in law allow pharmacists and prescribers to select and authorize delegates from their practice to retrieve patient information from the PMP database on their behalf.


  • PMP automatically registers all pharmacists and prescribers licensed in Virginia.
  • Over the last four years, Virginia has experienced a substantial decrease in "doctor-shopping" indicators.
  • PMP has become a major resource for prescription data used to inform public policy decisions toward safeguarding the health and wellbeing of all Virginians.

Virginia’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP): Making it Easier for Pharmacists and Prescribers to Keep Patients Safe

This material can be excerpted for placement in house news organs of PMP stakeholder groups and cited by news organizations seeking quotes from PMP Director, Ralph Orr.

PMP Enters Its Second Decade of Service
By Ralph Orr

PMP Director Ralph Orr

At a time when drug deaths outnumber motor vehicle fatalities, Virginia's Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) leads the way in the nationwide fight against the prescription drug abuse epidemic. PMP is a secure, digital risk management database for prescribers and pharmacists and works by providing information and patient histories of citizens receiving controlled substances or Schedule II through IV drugs as part of medical treatment. PMP also minimizes the risk of duplicating prescriptions and eliminates potential illegal activity. The database is accessible 24/7, and is only available to authorized users.

As of January 2016, PMP registration is automatic for select licensees of Virginia’s health regulatory boards, and practitioners are required to consult the database before writing an opioid prescription for longer than 14 consecutive days.

Recognizing the time constraints on healthcare providers, new 2016 policy allows practitioners to appoint delegates or alternates in their practice to query the PMP database on behalf of a supervising prescriber or pharmacist. PMP alternates are eligible to have their own accounts in the system.

Along with (number) states, PMP is a member of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Prescription Monitoring Interconnect (PMPi). These states work together in partnership to share prescription information across state lines to aid in the fight against the nationwide epidemic against prescription and heroin abuse. A nationally connected resource for prescribers and pharmacists is also on the horizon. The future is expected to bring new pharmacy software to better integrate use of PMP data into the everyday workflow of healthcare practitioners. 

PMP is a program of the Virginia Department of Health Professions (DHP) which licenses 320,000 healthcare practitioners across more than 80, professions including those who prescribe or dispense controlled substances.

DHP's mission is to ensure safe and competent patient care by licensing health professionals, enforcing standards of practice and providing information to health care practitioners and the public.

PMP Testimonials

“I use the PMP frequently in my family medicine practice to verify the controlled medication prescriptions that my patients may have received in other settings. The PMP has led me to have upfront and honest conversations with patients and family members that have then led to improved treatment plans that we are able to develop together in a patient-centered manner.”

-Sebastian Tong, MD, MPH

"I consider using the PMP to be a key part of providing safe and effective care for patients with chronic pain and other illnesses for which I have prescribed controlled substances. It allows me to ensure patients are not receiving prescriptions from other providers outside our office, and that medications are being refilled appropriately. I check the PMP each time I see a patient for chronic pain care, and for refills of controlled substances overall."

-Mark Ryan, MD, Medical Director, Hayes E. Willis Health Center

Informational Brochure

(Click here to download PDF version)

PMP Video

PMP Milestones

PMP milestones image


CDC Opioid Guidelines

Use of PMP supports the CDC's guidelines on prescribing opioids for chronic pain management

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The NarxCare Platform Appriss

Health recently transitioned to NarxCare, a comprehensive platform for managing controlled substance data. NarxCare provides practitioners with PMP data that is integrated within their existing workflow, whether as an electronic medical record system (EMR) or pharmacy software application. Learn more about NarxCare.

Other Resources

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Prescription Monitoring Program
Ralph A. Orr, Director