Beginning Monday, pharmacies and physicians who dispense controlled substances will have just one day to report information to the statewide prescription-drug monitoring program.
Currently, pharmacies and physicians are required to report the information as soon as possible to the state but are given upward of seven days to comply with the reporting requirements. The Legislature passed a bill this year that trimmed the reporting time and required that reporting be done through the state-approved electronic reporting system.
In state fiscal year 2016-2017, an average 6,024 dispensers each month reported controlled-substance prescription information to the database, dubbed E-FORCSE, which is an acronym for the Electronic-Florida Online Reporting of Controlled Substances Evaluation.
The report shows that the number of queries to the database submitted by health care practitioners in fiscal year 2016-2017 increased 30.3 percent over the number of queries submitted the previous fiscal year.
The Legislature during the 2018 session is expected to pass legislation to help abate the state's opioid epidemic, and lawmakers are considering whether to mandate that doctors use the database before prescribing controlled substances.
The database was established to track the dispensing of prescribed controlled substances to provide information to physicians and to prevent the over-prescribing and diversion of such substances.
Most dispensers are required to report the information, though exemptions are provided if the controlled substances are dispensed by practitioners for one-time, 72-hour emergency supplies for patients.
Exemptions also are made when controlled substances are dispensed in emergency rooms, rehabilitative hospitals, assisted living facilities or nursing homes, so long as they were ordered by treating physicians.