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A: A Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, (PDMP), also known as a Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) in some states (including the Commonwealth of Virginia), is a large database that holds information detailing dispensed covered substances in that state. Most of the U.S. states and territories have their own PMP. In Virginia, the PMP contains identifying information about the prescriber, the dispenser, the patient, and the dispensed drug. The primary purpose of the PMP is to provide information about dispensed substances to prescribers and dispensers to allow them to make well-informed prescribing and dispensing decisions based on recent, accurate data. Law enforcement officers may also utilize the PMP to obtain information regarding open investigations involving drug diversion.
A: A “covered substance” is defined as follows in the PMP:
"Covered substance" means all controlled substances included in Schedules II, III, and IV; controlled substances in Schedule V for which a prescription is required; naloxone; and any drugs of concern that are required to be reported to the Prescription Monitoring Program, pursuant to this chapter.
"Covered substance" also includes cannabis oil dispensed by a pharmaceutical processor in Virginia.
Currently, Virginia does not define any drug as a “drug of concern”. Drugs of concern are often considered for scheduling by the Virginia Board of Pharmacy. Gabapentin, a Schedule V drug in the Commonwealth, had previously been considered a “drug of concern” in Virginia. The 2019 Virginia General Assembly passed HB2557, which classified gabapentin as a Schedule V controlled substance as of July 1, 2019. Beginning that date, dispensers of gabapentin were required to begin reporting gabapentin to the PMP as a Schedule V controlled substance rather than a drug of concern.
Schedule II drugs include highly addictive medications such as OxyContin and Vicodin, both potent opiates. Schedule III drugs include the lesser addictive drugs such as Tylenol with codeine, testosterone, and others. Schedule IV drugs include drugs with low abuse potential such as Tramadol and Ativan, among others. Schedule V drugs include cough medications with codeine, and Lyrica.
A: No. All dispensers in Virginia must report all dispensed prescriptions to the PMP that meet the definition of “covered substance” unless specifically exempted, regardless of the recipient of the dispensed medication.
A: The types of individuals/establishments listed below must report to the Virginia PMP. If you have received a covered substance from any of the following, these covered substances will be included on your PMP report.
a) Pharmacies located within the Commonwealth of Virginia (they must be licensed by the Virginia Board of Pharmacy)
b) Pharmacies licensed by the Virginia Board of Pharmacy located outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia that ship covered substances to Virginia residents
c) Physicians who prescribe covered substances and are licensed to dispense such covered substances from their own practice location
d) Dentists who prescribe and then dispense covered substances from their own practice location
e) Veterinarians who prescribe and then dispense covered substances from their own practice location for a course of treatment lasting over 7 days
A: A prescriber who is treating you or a pharmacist who is dispensing a medication to you, or one of their authorized, registered delegates. Law enforcement officers may also utilize the PMP to obtain information regarding open investigations involving drug diversion.
A: A prescriber is not required nor obligated to write any prescription. The prescriber may consider many things before writing a prescription including but not limited to: a medical evaluation, information provided on the most current PMP, and a whole host of other clinical information obtained from your medical history including lab results, blood work, radiology and other information.
A: Prescribers and pharmacists are required to notify you if they utilize the Virginia PMP. Notice can be as simple as a sign located where you register for services, or where you pick up your dispensed medications. PMP regulations outline this required notification here.
A: The Virginia Code governing the PMP requires prescribers to check the PMP if they plan to prescribe an opiate to any individual if they have not previously done so. Read the Code here.
In addition, regulatory boards that license individuals who can prescribe covered substances have additional mandatory use guidelines involving the PMP. This includes the Board of Medicine, the Board of Nursing and the Board of Dentistry, among others. Here are links to the laws and regulations of the Boards:
A: If you suspect someone is viewing your PMP who is not authorized to do so, you may file a complaint with the Department of Health Professions as long as the individual is a licensee of one of DHP’s Health Regulatory Boards.
A: By regulation, the PMP report can only be mailed to the address specified by the recipient on the Recipient Request Form.
The regulation can be found here.
A: If you see prescriptions on your own PMP report that were not dispensed to you, please contact the pharmacy listed on your PMP report and have them look up the original prescription to determine if there was an error in reporting. If the pharmacy submitted information to the Virginia PMP in error, they have five days to correct the information once they are aware of the errant submission. If the information on the PMP matches the original prescription record of the pharmacy, the information cannot be removed from your PMP.
A: Beginning on July 1, 2018, veterinarians who dispense medications directly to their patients rather than handing the owner a written prescription had to begin reporting those prescriptions to the Virginia PMP. Animal prescriptions are required to be reported with the pet owner’s name and date of birth. The prescriptions dispensed to animals are identified by a dog emoji so that practitioners treating human patients are aware they were not prescribed to the pet owner.
A: The Virginia PMP is “interoperable” with the majority of U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Military Health System (MHS). This means that your doctor has the option to view prescriptions dispensed in these states and territories. If you have recently relocated from another state, you may wish to notify your physician that you have relocated from that state.
A: The Virginia PMP utilizes an algorithm developed by Appriss Health that estimates the risk of overdose for each patient depending on how many physicians the patient has seen, how many pharmacies the patient has been to, how many prescriptions they have picked up, the doses of those prescriptions, and the dates those prescriptions were dispensed.
Here is a tutorial of what the PMP refers to as the “NarxCare” system.
Here is a tutorial of what the PMP refers to as the “NarxScores” contained in each NarxCare report.