Drug safety tool being ignored by BC doctors

published on November 24, 2015 by Kim Pemberton in The Vancouver Sun

Make PharmaNet check mandatory, report urges

BC is in a unique position in Canada to potentially reduce the number of prescription drug overdoses by requiring all physicians to check a patient’s PharmaNet profile before writing or filling a prescription, according to a new report. As well, the report recommends enforcement measures to ensure that pharmacists, who are required to check PharmaNet before filling prescriptions, are following the rules.

PharmaNet is a provincewide electronic network that links all BC’s pharmacies with the goal of improving prescription safety. If it had worked properly, Leslie McBain believes she wouldn’t have lost her only child, Jordan Miller, who died last February from a prescription drug overdose.

“We’re fortunate (that) with the PharmaNet database, we can get real-time feedback. It’s a worldleading prescription-monitoring system, but it’s very worrisome that only approximately one in five physicians use the system,” said Dr. Evan Wood, medical director of Addiction Services at Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care and a medical professor at UBC.

He said Nova Scotia is the only other province in Canada to have such a system.

Wood said PharmaNet has been around for over a decade in BC, but physicians have “pushed back” from being required to check a patient’s prescription history.

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