The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued rules in 2010 that allowed for the electronic transmission of controlled substances prescriptions that included a requirement for the certification of both the prescriber software system and pharmacy software system by an independent third party auditor. Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) adopted the same requirements and updated their rules and regulations in October, 2013, to allow Schedule II controlled substances to be transmitted electronically. With ePCS,. Paper, fax and telephone prescribing are not required.
In December 2015 Surescripts reported extreme under-utilization of ePCS. The National Average for provider use of ePCS is only 4% and Texas use is even lower at under 3%. This is in contrast to pharmacy readiness. In Texas 85% of pharmacies can accept ePCS transactions, which is ahead of the 80% National Average. Benefits of increased ePCS in Texas are expected to include:
- Reduced callbacks from pharmacy to practitioner to address legibility, formulary, and contraindication issues.
- Reduced errors in medication dispensing by eliminating illegible written prescriptions and misunderstood oral prescriptions.
- Reduce patient wait time at the pharmacy.
- Reduction in prescription forgery and alteration
Electronic prescriptions for controlled substances will directly affect the following types of diversion:
- Stealing prescription pads or printing them, and writing non-legitimate prescriptions.
- Altering a legitimate prescription to obtain a higher dose or more dosage units (e.g., changing a ―10 to a ―40).
- Phoning in non-legitimate prescriptions late in the day when it is difficult for a pharmacy to complete a confirmation call to the practitioner’s office.
- Altering a prescription record at the pharmacy to hide diversion from pharmacy stock.