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We will bring to you the latest coverage of news on doctor shopping, prescription drug abuse, substance addiction, government policies and technologies that can help to combat these problems.

Misuse of Prescription Medicines in South Asia (Part 2)

According to the UN, after cannabis and heroin, the misuse of pharmaceutical drugs is rising among sub continental drug users because of their easy availability at cheap rates and this is becoming a huge concern. The misuse of pharmaceutical drugs poses a serious problem for India and South Asian countries because of their availability at low prices. (ref) Codeine-based cough syrups, diazepam and proxyvon are some of the pharmaceutical drugs that are quite popular among addicts. Further to this, misuse of pharmaceutical drugs is a big concern in the subcontinent as they are produced by pharmaceutical companies in India and Bangladesh. This is a major concern as pharmacists in India regularly sell prescription drugs without prescriptions. Despite legislative reforms by the Government, prescription drugs from Indian pharmacies are being illegally trafficked out of India to other parts of the world. (ref) The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime argue that many problems regarding prescription drug abuse arise when doctors prescribe highly addictive medicines in too large of dosages, or prescribe these medicines based on inaccurate diagnoses. (ref) It is evident that prescription medicine misuse is a global epidemic that needs to be urgently addressed. Increased efforts to provide better training for healthcare practitioners, education for the public as well as monitoring a patient’s medication history can help to combat this serious problem. To learn more about MediSecure’s Real Time Prescription Monitoring tool, visit our website at...

Misuse of Prescription Medicines in South Asia (Part 1)

Globally, pharmaceutical misuse is increasing, particularly in developed countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia. However, a similar trend of prescription medicine misuse is occurring in South Asia and this is becoming a huge concern. Pharmaceutical drug misuse refers to any use of pharmaceutical drugs that is inconsistent with the intended use or directions. (ref) Bangladesh has a thriving pharmaceutical industry with a fairly large scale manufacturing capability that produces ‘medicines of addiction’ such as benzodiazepines. In fact, the pharmaceutical industry is growing at an impressive annual growth rate of 9%. (ref) The main pharmaceutical drugs of abuse in Bangladesh include: codeine-based cough syrups, diazepam, painkillers and buprenorphine. Experts believe that the reasons behind the misuse of pharmaceuticals are: curiosity, lack of alternative social activities as well as the lack of awareness of their effects and associated risks. The misuse of pharmaceutical drugs has become a grave issue, particularly in the rural parts of the country. One of the major challenges faced by the Government is the lack of supervision or verification around the unauthorized use of these pharmaceutical drugs. More importantly, it is important to facilitate access for treatment of opioid dependency and ensuring that healthcare system is able to provide quality care and prevent further misuse of pharmaceutical drugs. For more information on MediSecure’s Real Time Prescription Monitoring tool, please visit our website at...

A Bitter Pill to Swallow: Codeine-based medicines

Recent regulatory proposal by the Therapeutic Goods Administration late last year led to debates to how prescription medicine misuse should be addressed. While experts recommended tighter controls and the rescheduling of codeine-based medicines, other peak medical bodies such as the RACGP and Pharmacy Guild of Australia, continue to call for the urgent implementation of a Real Time Prescription Monitoring tool in addressing this serious health issue. Fatal overdose rate linked to codeine doubled between 2000 and 2009, and such alarming statistics clearly highlights the urgent need to monitor patients who visit multiple stores and are at risk of developing addiction. The Australian Self Medication Industry suggests that the rescheduling of codeine-based products to prescription only would cost Medicare $170 million a year due to unnecessary doctor’s appointments. (ref) In ensuring that consumers use these medicines safely and effectively, it is crucial for both the Government and the Therapeutic Goods Administration to not only include a mandatory Real Time Prescription Monitoring tool but more importantly facilitate access to education materials. To find out more about MediSecure’s first Real Time Prescription Monitoring tool, visit our website at...

America’s prescription medicine addiction and drug overdose: Part II

More Americans now die every year from drug overdose than they do in motor vehicle crashes and the majority of that drug overdose cases fuelled from prescription medicine misuse. Educating health professionals is key in addressing this prescription drug overdose epidemic. Arguable, early interventions by primary care providers have proven effective in reducing or eliminating substance abuse in people who misuse prescription medicine. In addition, educating healthcare providers about prescription medicine misuse will promote awareness of this growing problem among prescribers so they will not over-prescribe the medication necessary to treat minor conditions. In this video, KCTS 9 and Investigate West report on the alarming increase in prescription-drug overdose as a result of abuse in Washington State caused by overprescribing, the lack of regulation or treatment options, and how this epidemic is affecting teenagers, seniors and middle-class families. You can watch the video here. In tackling the issue of overprescribing and prescription drug overdose, the urgent call for prescribing doctors in America to use prescription drug monitoring programs, which are state-run databases that track prescriptions for painkillers and can help to address the issue of overprescribing. There remains no commitment from the Federal Government in implementing a nationwide real time prescription-monitoring tool to prevent more prescription drug overdose. This is an urgent health epidemic to address and MediSecure is proud to have launched Australia’s first Real Time Prescription Monitoring tool, which allows prescribing doctors to monitor both Schedule 8 and Schedule 4 prescription medicines, particularly those most vulnerable to misuse. For more information, please visit...

America’s prescription medicine epidemic

In October last year, the Obama Administration announces public and private effort to address the country’s prescription medicine epidemic. The number of prescrip­tions filled for opioid pain relievers—some of the most powerful medications available—has increased dramatically in recent years. From 1997 to 2007, the milligram per person use of prescription opioids in the U.S. increased from 74 milligrams to 369 milligrams, an increase of 402 percent. (source) With statistics like these, there is no doubt that America is experiencing a prescription medicine epidemic. Health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain medications in 2012 – enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills. (source) The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will invest $8.5 million on the development of tools and resources to help inform prescribers about appropriate opioid prescribing and to track data on prescribing trends in ensuring clinical quality improvement measures and programs on opioid prescribing are in place. In America, forty-three states have authorised prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) to try and tackle the prescription medicine epidemic. These programs are established by state legislation and are paid for by a combination of state and Federal funds. The implementation of such monitoring tools allows prescribing doctors to detect and prevent the diversion and misuse of prescription medicine at the point of care. This provides early warning of prescription medicine misuse and/or addiction, ability to assist in patient care by providing treatment, as well as to prevent fatalities linked to prescription medicine overdose. Similar efforts need to be taken in Australia to better support and inform prescribing doctors to achieve better healthcare delivery....

Fighting Prescription Medicine Abuse in New York with Technology!

In New York, drug overdose deaths relating to pharmaceuticals and prescription medicine abuse have risen 56 per cent since 1999. These harrowing figures were reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They also reported that overdose deaths from prescription opioid painkillers are four times greater than the number of heron and cocaine deaths combined. This highlights the alarming shift in prescription medicine abuse from illicit drug use. Unfortunately, there is a similar trend emerging in Australia. This increases the need for the urgent implementation of a real time prescription monitoring system, such as MediSecure’s DrShop tool to fight prescription medicine abuse. In New York, e-prescribing software DrFirst, has proven to provide substantial benefits to doctors and patients. This piece of technology has been recognised as one of the most effective ways to reduce prescription medicine abuse and so-called “doctor shopping.” DrFirst offers solutions that inform the doctor-patient point of care, providing the health professional access to patient information in ensuring care delivery. The effect has been a tangible improvement in the rate of prescription medicine abuse.   The development of MediSecure’s real time prescription monitoring, DrShop, is driven by similar reasons in improving patient health outcomes through innovation and security. Register for DrShop...

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