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Opioid painkillers should be monitored electronically: N.Y. grand jury


NEW YORK—A New York grand jury investigating an epidemic of controlled substance abuse has called on pharmaceutical manufacturers to help fund electronic monitoring of opioid pain medication prescribing.

Suffolk County, N.Y., District Attorney Thomas Spota released a 99-page report on Thursday that contains several other recommendations from the Suffolk County Supreme Court Special Grand Jury, which was first empanelled in January.

The report also criticizes drug manufacturers' profit motives and the medical establishment for overprescribing addictive pain medications.

The grand jury’s many recommendations include mandating electronic prescribing for controlled substances or else mandating that all pharmacy dispensers enter controlled substance prescription data into a central registry.

Such efforts could inhibit doctor shopping by patients while helping hold prescribers accountable when discipline is warranted, the report states.

The grand jury also called for pharmaceutical manufacturers to subsidize the proposed monitoring of controlled substance prescriptions.

“Manufacturers provide the supply of controlled substances, pay to market them and reap enormous profits,” the report states. “It is therefore reasonable to require that, as a cost of doing business in New York, manufacturers subsidize the implementation and operation of the (registry) here. There is precedent for this in Florida. Manufacturers must also contribute to a research fund for addiction evaluation and treatment.”

The report is available here.