In 2017, the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 249, implementing several changes to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (“PDMP”). Bill 249 held that:
- Beginning July 1, 2017, dispensers are required to enter prescription information for schedule II, III, IV, V controlled substances within 24 hours. This will give prescribers efficient access to information faster and allow the prescriber to make the best decision possible for patients.
- All prescribers will be required to register in the PDMP by January 1, 2018.
- Beginning July 1, 2018, prescribers are required to check PDMP before prescribing opiates or cocaine derivatives in Schedule II drugs or benzodiazepines.
The goal of the new PDMP was for physicians to be able to detect which patients were obtaining multiple prescriptions for highly addictive drugs and identify which practitioners were prescribing unlawful dosages.
Our Georgia-based business and healthcare law firm follows developments in healthcare law. Shelia Pierce, the opioid program coordinator and director of the PDMP for the Georgia Department of Health, contends that enrollment into the program has been very difficult. While 24,000 physicians have enrolled, 1,100 Georgia physicians have ignored the new law and have not enrolled in the drug monitoring program. The Georgia Composite Medical Board has not determined how to impose punishment on those physicians. Each physician would need to have a case built on them, have documents assembled, call people in to testify, and hold individual hearings. The Attorney General’s office is currently trying to determine how to proceed against the violators.