Background: Prescription drug monitoring programs issue reports about a patient's controlled substance prescription history upon request to physicians, law enforcement officials, and pharmacists. The dual purposes of these programs are to reduce the abuse and diversion of controlled substances while not preventing access to these medications for legitimate medical need.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of Medicaid patients with Kentucky's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).
Study design: A random sample of Medicaid patients was surveyed in 2010; respondents were matched with patient retrospective claims data from 6 months prior to the survey's administration.
Setting: Kentucky Medicaid patients from across the state.
Methods: A combination of patient surveys and Medicaid claims data was used to test the relationship between patient characteristics and patient-reported interactions with physicians regarding their PDMP reports and whether they experienced difficulty obtaining or filling a prescription for a controlled substance due to a PDMP report.
Results: Most Medicaid patients are unaffected by the PDMP; however, patients diagnosed with chronic non-cancer pain conditions and patients reporting a Hispanic ethnicity are significantly more likely to have a physician discuss their PDMP report with them. Patients diagnosed with chronic non-cancer pain conditions are also significantly more likely to report difficulty obtaining a prescription for a controlled substance than patients that have not been diagnosed with chronic non-cancer pain conditions. Patients living in rural areas are significantly less likely than patients in urban areas to report difficulty obtaining a prescription for a controlled substance.
Limitations: The utilization of controlled substance prescriptions by respondents was not measured or monitored. The Medicaid population examined in this study may not be representative of the population as a whole.
Conclusions: These results suggest that more attention to the consumer/patient perspective is warranted in maintaining a balanced approach to decreasing drug abuse and diversion while not limiting access to controlled substances in cases of legitimate medical need.