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Electronic Prescribing for Opioids Passes House Committee

June 06, 2017

As the Pennsylvania legislature looks to provide tools for communities and families to combat the opioid epidemic, the House Health Committee unanimously voted House Bill 353 out of committee.  Sponsored by Representative Tedd Nesbit (R-Mercer), this legislation requires the use of electronic prescribing for a Schedule II controlled substance.  

Seen as a way to prevent diversion of handwritten prescriptions of substances, this legislation updates outdated state law that requires that the prescription of an opioid be handwritten. 

Handwritten prescriptions leave the door open for stolen prescriptions and prescription pads and fraudulent prescriptions. Mandating electronic prescription creates a more secure system. In addition, electronic prescriptions can be automatically linked to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

During the committee meeting, an amendment was adopted to exempt certain prescribers and pharmacies under certain circumstances.  For instance, in the event of power outage or information technology failure, electronic prescribing would be exempt. In some rural areas, Internet is not accessible and electronic records are not utilized.

The bill now goes for consideration of the full House.  

HAP supports this legislation, as it provides for the practical application of existing technology to increase the security of the prescribing process.

For more information, please contact Stephanie Watkins, HAP’s vice-president state legislative advocacy, or Scott Bishop, HAP’s senior vice-president, legislative advocacy.

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