While recent reports indicate the prescription drug epidemic is affecting many parts of America, New York City announced that it would be taking special measures to curb the practice on December 13. According to The Wall Street Journal, officials in the Big Apple found more than 20 pharmacies that are issuing unusually high levels of oxycodone Medicaid reimbursements.
In total, these roughly 20 pharmacies account for 25 percent of the city's total government reimbursements for these drugs, the news source says. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he would be starting a task force designed specifically to combat this problem as a result of the new data.
The task force is expected to be made up of both law enforcement personnel and health officials, though there could be an emphasis on criminal findings. The Journal indicates that the pharmacies and doctors that issued the drug could face charges if found guilty of helping patients secure more medication than was necessary.
While city officials are responding, data suggests that what is happening in New York isn't an isolated incident.
"Prescription overdoses are epidemic in the [United States]," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, said in response to statistics.
As a result, the doctors and healthcare IT managers at small medical facilities may want to consider solutions that can help them recognize when a patient has been prescribed a certain drug too frequently. Eprescribing software, such as the products offered by Lytec's SureScripts software, could be a valuable tool in the fight.
By increasing the availability of data, these employees could also see their overall medical practice management improve and the rate of prescription errors decrease.