Mullin, Hassan Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Combat Opioid Epidemic by Strengthening Standards for Prescribing Controlled Substances

U.S. Senators Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) recently introduced bipartisan legislation to require electronic prescriptions for all Schedule II-IV controlled substances, including opioids. Electronic prescribing of these substances can enhance patient safety and deter fraud. These medications have a higher potential for misuse – and electronic prescriptions can help stop doctor shopping, in which people get duplicative prescriptions either for their own use or to sell on the black market.

“These substances are controlled for a reason,” said Senator Mullin. “We should be doing all we can to increase the safety and quality of the prescribing process to improve patient outcomes, and I am confident in the ability of EPCS to do just that. I want to thank Senator Hassan for joining me in this effort.”

“We must eliminate the potential for prescriptions – especially for opioids – to be diverted or falsified,” said Senator Hassan. “New Hampshire and many states already require electronic prescriptions because they have been shown to increase patient safety and help ensure that prescription drugs do not fall into the wrong hands. This bipartisan legislation would make sure that this commonsense measure is adopted nationwide.”

The Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances Act (EPCS 2.0) expands to private insurers the existing requirement for Medicare providers to use electronic prescription for all Schedule II-IV controlled substances, while including protections for patients to choose their own pharmacy and exceptions for pharmacies with difficulty accessing internet and other technological barriers. Electronic prescriptions have been shown to reduce fraud.