An Overview of New Jersey’s Prescription Monitoring Program
NJPMP: What Is It?
The New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP) is an important component of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs’ effort to halt the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs. We are inviting New Jersey’s State-licensed prescribers and pharmacists to join us in this effort.
The NJPMP, established pursuant to N.J.S.A. 45:1-45 et. seq., is a statewide database that collects prescription data on Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) dispensed in outpatient settings in New Jersey, and by out-of-state pharmacies dispensing into New Jersey.
NJPMP Uses and Benefits
The NJPMP enables prescribers and pharmacists to obtain accurate information on patients’ CDS and HGH prescription history, from an online database that pharmacies update at least twice per month. The NJPMP collects and makes available information on drugs dispensed by pharmacies in New Jersey or by out-of-state pharmacies dispensing into New Jersey.
Prescribers may also use the NJPMP to review the list of CDS or HGH recorded as having been prescribed using the prescriber’s own name and DEA registration number. Such reviews will help the prescriber determine whether his or her identity has been misused to create false prescriptions.
The NJPMP also serves as an effective tool for identifying those who fraudulently obtain prescription drugs or are otherwise involved in the criminal diversion of prescription medication.
The information reported to and made available through the NJPMP will help detect individuals who may be "doctor shopping" – visiting multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions for the same medications that they then have filled at different pharmacies, in order to obtain more of the prescribed substance than any one physician or pharmacist would allow.
The NJPMP will also aid in detecting "pill mills" – a doctor's office, clinic, or other healthcare facility that regularly colludes in the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances outside the scope of the prevailing standards of medical practice, and in violation of New Jersey law on the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances.
Prescribers’ and Pharmacists’ Access to the NJPMP
Access to the NJPMP is granted to prescribers and pharmacists who are licensed by the State of New Jersey and in good standing with their respective licensing boards.
Before issuing a prescription or dispensing a prescribed drug, qualified prescribers and pharmacists who have registered to use the NJPMP are able to access the NJPMP website and request the CDS and HGH prescription history of the patient. The users must certify that they are seeking information for a specific, current patient.
Patient information in the NJPMP is intended to supplement an evaluation of a patient, confirm a patient’s drug history, and document compliance with a therapeutic regimen. When prescribers or pharmacists identify a patient as potentially having an issue of concern regarding drug use, they are encouraged to help the patient locate assistance and take any other action the prescriber or pharmacist deems appropriate. For technical assistance with the NJPMP database, contact Optimum Technology’s help desk at 1-866-683-2476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patient Threshold Reports
In addition to serving as a database for registered users, the NJPMP generates reports on abnormal patterns of prescribing and dispensing related to specific patients. These Patient Threshold Reports are intended to help identify possible abusers of CDS or HGH, and are automatically sent to prescribers and pharmacists when a patient has exceeded certain prescription-related thresholds.
Prescribers and pharmacists are encouraged to review the Patient Threshold Report to confirm that it, in fact, pertains to their patient or pharmacy customer. Prescribers and pharmacists are urged to discuss with the patient or customer any concerns arising from the report, and to consult with other prescribers and/or pharmacists that may be included in the report.
If any information in the report appears to be inaccurate, prescribers and pharmacists are asked to contact the NJPMP Administrator at email@example.com or call the Division of Consumer Affairs at 800-242-5846. Prescribers and pharmacists may also wish to keep a copy of the Patient Threshold Report with the patient’s records.
Health Information Privacy
The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and its private contractor keep NJPMP patient information strictly confidential, in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules.
Prescribers and pharmacists authorized to access the NJPMP, must certify before each search that they are seeking data solely for the purpose of providing healthcare to current patients. Authorized users agree that they will not provide access to the NJPMP to any other individuals, including members of their staff.
A prescriber or pharmacist who accesses or discloses NJPMP information for any purpose other than providing healthcare to a current patient or verifying the NJPMP’s record of prescriptions issued by the prescriber, or who allows any other individuals to access the NJPMP using the prescriber’s or pharmacist’s own access codes, is subject to civil penalties of up to $10,000 for each offense and disciplinary action by the prescriber’s or pharmacist’s professional licensing board.
Any individual who suspects that another individual or entity has accessed or disclosed patient information in violation of the NJPMP Statute or HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, should immediately contact the NJPMP Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Division of Consumer Affairs at 800-242-5846.
Additional information about the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy.
How Can Healthcare Practitioners Help Stop Diversion and Abuse?
The NJPMP is a vitally important tool that will help practitioners meet their obligations – provided in their respective licensing regulations and in their professional standards – for responsible prescribing and dispensing.
State-licensed prescribers and pharmacists are strongly encouraged to sign up for free access to the NJPMP, check the database regularly in the course of providing patient care, and take action when they detect potential abuse or diversion.
Such action may include speaking with the patient, referring the patient to substance abuse treatment, or contacting law enforcement.
As an example of regulatory requirements for responsible prescribing, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners Rules provide, under N.J.A.C. 13:35-7.6, that practitioners who prescribe controlled substances must remain alert to the possibility of misuse or diversion; must remain alert to problems associated with dependence and review the course of treatment when CDS are prescribed continuously for three months or more; must ensure a patient’s medical history has been taken, including any history with substance abuse; and, when managing pain in patients with a history of substance abuse, must exercise extra care including monitoring, documentation, and possible consultation with addiction medicine specialists.
Use of the NJPMP as part of the normal course of patient care will help practitioners meet regulatory obligations such as these.
In addition to their use of the NJPMP, practitioners who prescribe CDS and HGH are strongly encouraged to prescribe no more medication than is required for the course of treatment. Practitioners are also encouraged to counsel patients about the appropriate use of such medications, as well as their dangers, the consequences of misuse and dependence, and the growing trend of prescription drug abuse among individuals of all ages, in New Jersey and nationwide.
Practitioners are encouraged to counsel patients to keep their medications away from individuals who may seek to abuse them or make them available for others to abuse. Patients should be encouraged to speak with their family about the dangers of prescription drug abuse; to keep their drugs in secured areas or lockable boxes within their homes; and to properly dispose of any expired or unused medications. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs’ Project Medicine Drop website includes information on how to dispose of medications, and how to keep them safe and secure within the home.
Where appropriate, practitioners may refer patients to the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Addiction Services’ Substance Abuse Directory for information on treatment agencies in each county.
Most patients use prescription medications responsibly. However, the statistics on prescription drug abuse are staggering.
In 2010, New Jersey saw 7,238 admissions to State-licensed or certified substance abuse treatment programs as a result of prescription painkiller abuse. That number represents a dramatic increase of nearly 2,000 from the previous year’s admissions, and an increase of more than 5,000 from 2005, according to statewide statistics.
Every day, 40 Americans die from an overdose caused by prescription painkiller abuse, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overdoses of opioid prescription drugs now kill more people in the U.S. than heroin and cocaine combined.
It will take an effort by each of us – regulatory agencies, law enforcement, medical practitioners, pharmacists, pharmaceutical companies, and citizens – to reverse this disturbing trend. With your support, the NJPMP can be a very effective component in our united effort to halt prescription drug abuse and diversion.
To Register for a Free NJPMP Account:
- Prescribers and pharmacists who are licensed by the State of New Jersey and in good standing with their respective licensing boards, can go to www.NJRxReport.com, a secure website maintained by Optimum Technology. Click on the “Not a member? Register” link.
- Follow the instructions, which include selecting your specific profession, and entering required information such as your State license number and other identifying information.
- The site will direct you to a link for the “Request for Access” form. You must print out and complete this form, sign it, have it notarized, and mail it to Optimum Technology at the address provided on the form.
- After the form has been submitted and your information processed, you will receive an email with instructions on how to access the NJPMP.