Integration of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP) in pharmacy practice: Improving clinical decision-making and supporting a pharmacist's professional judgment

Connor Whelan Norwood, Eric R. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Background: Pharmacists have shared responsibility to investigate the validity of controlled substance prescriptions (CSPs) that raise concerns, or red flags, and subsequently exercise their right to refuse to dispense a CSP if its validity cannot be verified. Improving access to clinical practice tools, such as prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), may increase availability of a patient's drug history, which is critical to making informed clinical decisions about dispensing CSPs. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine how integration and consistent use of a PDMP in pharmacy practice impacts pharmacists' dispensing practices related to CSPs. Methods: A cross-sectional study examined pharmacists' knowledge and use of Indiana's (US State) PDMP (INSPECT) and dispensing practices of CSPs. Three outcome measures were analyzed using multiple logistic regression so as to examine the relationship between PDMP use and pharmacists' controlled substance dispensing behaviors. Results: Pharmacists were 6.4 times more likely to change their dispensing practice to dispense fewer CSPs if they reported that INSPECT provides increased access to patient information. Pharmacists who always use INSPECT refused an average of 25 CSPs annually compared to an average of 7 refusals for pharmacists not using INSPECT. Pharmacists using INSEPCT consistently (at every visit) were 3.3 times more likely to refuse to dispense more CSPs than pharmacists who report never using INSPECT. Conclusions: Integration of PDMPs in pharmacy practice may improve a pharmacist's ability to make informed clinical decisions and exercise sound professional judgment. Providing clinical practice tools to both prescribers and pharmacists is important to preventing drug diversion and prescription drug abuse. Future research should focus on understanding the barriers and challenges to successful integration of PDMPs in pharmacy practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-266
Number of pages10
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016



  • Corresponding responsibility
  • Drug diversion
  • Opioid addiction
  • PDMP
  • Pharmacists
  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacy administration
  • Prescription drug abuse
  • Prescription drug monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical Science

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