BOSTON (CBS) — The next time you go to pick up a prescription, you might need your ID. Starting January 1st, new regulations will require pharmacists to check customers IDs for more than 250 prescriptions. The state will then track these prescriptions as well. It’s part of an effort to crack down on prescription drug abuse.
Alice Bonner with the Department of Public Health says, “It’s an expansion of an existing regulation. What we have always done in Massachusetts is required a photo ID when for the most dangerous class of drugs.”
The new regulations require IDs more, including Vicadin or Valium. Bonner says, “It reduces the chance that someone will be using the drugs for non medical use… by asking for an ID, it helps us to verify it is a legitimate prescription.”
35 other states already have prescription monitoring programs. Massachusetts will create a database to provide patients’ information to doctors and pharmacists. Bonner says that way doctors can check to see if a patient has already received similar prescriptions to better manage pain and patients’ needs.
“We are hopeful this program will encourage doctors to talk with patients more about their pain, managing their pain, and safe use of these medications,” she said.
Stephen Bernardi, the owner of the Johnson Compounding and Wellness Center, says these regulations will be an extra burden on pharmacists. He says, “You’re talking about employee time. You’re taking someone away from useful things and filling prescriptions, and making them become a bookkeeper. And I hate to say it, they’re making us sort of become policemen.”
Bonner says, “We recognize there is increased workload on the pharmacies, but we’ve been working for several months with the pharmacy organizations to make sure it will be doable and we believe it will.”