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Arizona to require prescribers to monitor prescription drug database

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Health care providers in Arizona will be required to check the state's prescription monitoring program before prescribing Schedule II, III and IV controlled substances.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Thursday signed into law S.B. 1283, sponsored by Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, that is intended to curb overprescribing of powerful drugs such as opioids and benzodiazepines when it takes effect in October 2017.

The law states that health care providers must obtain patient utilization reports from Arizona's prescription monitoring program database before beginning a new course of treatment and at least quarterly to ensure prescriptions are appropriate.

At least 10 states, including New York, Massachusetts and Tennessee, already require health care providers to access databases before prescribing certain controlled substances.

Workers compensation professionals say such requirements reduce the potential for overutilization, diversion and addiction.

According to the Arizona law, health care providers may be granted a one-year waiver from the requirement due to technological limitations that are out of their control or other “exceptional circumstances.”