Pennsylvania Using New Tool to Report Suspicious Rx Drug Activity

Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro recently announced the creation of a tool for reporting suspicious activity surrounding the prescribing or dispensing of prescription drugs, including opioids.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and state Attorney General Josh Shapiro recently announced the creation of a tool for reporting suspicious activity surrounding the prescribing or dispensing of prescription drugs, including opioids. The tool has been available since Dec. 19 on the attorney general's website; on the Department of Health's website; and within the state's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) site for registered users.

"One way of the many ways we are fighting the opioid epidemic is with Pennsylvania's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, a database that collects information on all filled prescriptions for controlled substances in the state," Wolf said. "By making the attorney general's suspicious activity reporting tool available on the PDMP and the Department of Health's website, we add another layer of safety for the responsible prescribing of controlled substances such as opioids."

"The illegal diversion of prescription pain pills from doctors' offices and pharmacies is contributing to the opioid epidemic across the Commonwealth, but diversion activity is hard to identify and even harder to investigate," said Shapiro. "This new reporting tool, which is available online to everyone, allows people to anonymously give our office detailed information about suspected diversion so we are better able to arrest and prosecute the criminals who are poisoning our communities for their own profit."

The Attorney General's Office of Diversion created the suspicious activity report form, a web-based form for health care providers and the general public to report suspicious activity involving prescription medication. That might include fraudulent, stolen, or altered prescriptions, a suspicious doctor or pharmacy, or an individual obtaining prescription drugs for any purpose other than the treatment of an existing medical condition, such as for purposes of misuse, abuse, or diversion.

Completed reports are assigned to the appropriate investigator in the attorney general's office in the region where the suspicious activity is alleged to have taken place.

Pennsylvania has had a prescription drug monitoring program since the 1970s; in 2016, Wolf announced the program would be run by the Department of Health. Those with an active Pennsylvania professional license that permits them to prescribe or dispense medications must register to use the PDMP. Authorized users include prescribers, dispensers, the attorney general's office (on behalf of law enforcement), designated commonwealth personnel, and medical examiners or county coroners. More than 90,000 registrants have conducted approximately 1.6 million patient searches each month. The PDMP online database allows prescribers and dispensers of controlled substances to monitor who is obtaining opioids, from whom prescriptions are being obtained, and how often they are prescribed.

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