Electronic opioid prescriptions required in Tenn. by 2020

Tennessee
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FILE – This Aug. 15, 2017 file photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. Congressional investigators say wholesale pharmaceutical distributors shipped hundreds of millions of prescription opioid pills to West Virginia, a state disproportionately ravaged by deaths caused by the addictive drugs. Now, lawmakers want executives of those companies […]

Tennessee doctors writing opioid prescriptions will have to do it electronically starting in 2020, but there will be some exceptions. 

The requirement was among several pieces of legislation passed by state lawmakers to help curb the opioid epidemic. 

House sponsor Rep. Ron Gant pointed to the need because of fraudulent prescriptions. 

“Like for example, I had no idea you could take a chemical and wipe the ink off a prescription and therefore eliminate the ink and basically write your own prescription,” Gant told News 2. 

He said studies showed nearly a half million fraudulent prescriptions in Tennessee filled for opioids like methadone, oxycodone and fentanyl, but electronic prescriptions will come with orders for the doctor 

“There is a two-part authentication process they have to go through–a pin number and also a fingerprint,” added the lawmaker. 

The bill allows some exemptions for doctors in rural areas that may not have the technology in place to transmit electronically to a pharmacy, but like all opioid legislation, Gant said it will be monitored intently by all the stakeholders from doctors to patients to pharmacists. 

“We will watch it very closely and see what the effects are and make changes that make sense,” said Rep. Gant. 

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