The introduction of technology-enabled solutions as part of the e-health strategy will help capture data on private prescriptions of controlled drugs, the Department of Health anticipates.
The lack of data on private prescriptions of medications, such as opioids and benzodiazepines, was discussed at length last year by a Medical Council working group developing strategies to address overprescribing.
At a meeting of the working group in March 2021, “the point was made that it can be difficult to get a full view on the prescribing of controlled drugs as currently private prescribing is not captured centrally”, according to minutes obtained by the Medical Independent (MI).
“There was a discussion with the representative from the Department of Health who said she was aware that this topic had been discussed for some time and from the Department’s perspective, if legislative change is being suggested then the Department needs to know that all of the different pros and cons of a proposal have been considered.”
According to minutes, it was emphasised “that the legislative changes are required as the current situation just doesn’t make sense and that patient safety is at stake if this change doesn’t happen. It was acknowledged that the change does need to happen, but how it is done will need to be agreed.”
Asked about progress on this matter, a Department of Health spokesperson informed MI: “The Department is continuing to participate in the Medical Council overprescribing working group with other stakeholders and is working towards resolving issues identified by this group with relevant responsible stakeholders. It is anticipated that the introduction of technology-enabled solutions as part of the e-health strategy will offer opportunities that will help to resolve data issues raised at this working group.”