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Andrew D'Arcy
Andrew D'Arcy
Attorney • (609) 641-6200


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In July of 2015, Governor Chris Christie signed into law a bill that required drug prescribers and pharmacists in New Jersey to register for access to the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program.  Christie said the bill would help prevent so-called “doctor shopping” whereby some people seek multiple medical opinions with the aim of obtaining prescription drugs.  Under the program, New Jersey doctors are able to see a patient’s prescription history within the state and to see any written by doctors in other states.

Governor Christie announced this past Tuesday that the state is expanding its prescription monitoring program to include New York, part of a larger effort to thwart out-of-state “doctor shopping” and the prescription drug abuse it enables.  In addition to New York, the program monitors prescriptions in South Carolina, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Virginia, Connecticut and Delaware.

Christie says the partnership is another step toward combating heroin and opioid addiction.  He was quoted as saying “To us it’s the single most important expansion we’ve had so far because of the size of the physician and health care community in New York, the amount of time that people in New Jersey spend at times accessing health care in New York and the fact that they’re our largest neighbor.”

New York has been involved for about eight days and has made about 16,000 information requests of the database, compared with 30,000 requests in the first three months of 2015.  The database contains the names of patients, doctors, pharmacies and other information and allows health care workers to search a patient’s prescription patterns and determine whether they’re “doctor shopping,” or going to different doctors to get narcotics.

The monitoring database is legally required to be updated within 24 hours of a prescription issuance, and cross-references all patient aliases.  Before the prescription monitoring initiative, there was a lag of several weeks before new data was updated.  Christie noted that after he threatened to make participation a regulatory requirement, participation by physicians jumped from fewer than 20 percent to 96 percent.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that prescription drug abuse affects families nationwide and added the partnership would “stem the epidemic.”