States With Prescription Drug Monitoring Mandates Saw A Reduction In Opioids Prescribed To Medicaid Enrollees
Author: Hefei Wen, Bruce R. Schackman, Brandon Aden, Yuhua Bao
Prescription drug monitoring programs are promising tools to use in addressing the prescription opioid epidemic, yet prescribers’ participation in these state-run programs remained low as of 2014. Statutory mandates for prescribers to register with their state’s program, use it, or both are believed to be effective tools to realize the programs’ full potential. Our analysis of aggregate Medicaid drug utilization data indicates that state mandates for prescriber registration or use adopted in 2011–14 were associated with a reduction of 9–10 percent in population-adjusted numbers of Schedule II opioid prescriptions received by Medicaid enrollees and amounts of Medicaid spending on these prescriptions. This effect was largely associated with mandates of registration, which were comprehensive in all adopting states, and not with mandates of use, which were largely limited in scope or strength before 2015. Our findings support the use of mandates of registration in prescription drug monitoring programs as an effective and relatively low-cost policy. Future research should further assess the value of strong mandates of use to ensure safer and more appropriate prescribing of opioids.