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Medical News & Perspectives
March 19, 2014

Payers Probe Ways to Help Curb Risky Prescribing

JAMA. 2014;311(11):1097-1098. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.1697

A Massachusetts physician found himself in the headlines in 2005 when his license was suspended after evidence emerged that he had prescribed about one-third of the state’s 922 985 OxyContin prescriptions in the previous year (http://bit.ly/1g2DCw1). Later convicted of drug dealing and Medicare fraud, the man remains a familiar example of the public health effect of risky prescribing.

But cases of inappropriate prescribing are often far more subtle. A physician may unwittingly prescribe to a doctor-shopping patient or simply prescribe too frequently without taking appropriate precautions. To help physicians and state officials identify dangerous prescribing patterns, all 50 states have created prescription drug monitoring programs or have legislation calling for the creation of such a program, and a growing body of evidence supports their use.

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