After testifying before a U.S. House committee on the so-called pill pipeline, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says the state needs to consider making its prescription drug tracking system mandatory.
On Thursday, Beshear addressed lawmakers about illegal pills abused in eastern Kentucky. Federal law enforcement officials estimate that 60 percent of those prescription come directly from Florida.
After first opposing it, Florida Governor Rick Scott this week promised to create a prescription tracking system similar to Kentucky’s. The database shows all scheduled prescriptions for individual patients, doctors and pharmacies.
But Beshear says the program could be even stronger.
“Right now it’s a totally voluntary system. And I want to sit down with the medical community and the pharmacy community, and start some conversations about where we go from here,” he says. “Because this is an epidemic and I think we might need to make our system even stronger.”
Currently, Kentucky’s prescription drug tracking system, KASPER, has only about one quarter of pharmacists and doctors are participating. Asked if making the program mandatory should be looked at, Beshear indicated that was the next phase of the process.
“I think that’s one of the options we need to look at is to require some of the medical personnel and others that are directly involved with prescribing some of these very serious narcotics to have to participate in this program. I will certainly be open to issues that raises, but it sure makes some sense to me,” he says.
The governor has also asked federal official to commit more resources to fight traffickers and indicated Kentucky is set to strengthen its partnerships with neighboring states to track illegal pills.
34 states have a prescription monitoring program.