Zorn bill seeks to reduce opioid prescription fraud

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Wednesday introduced legislation designed to combat opioid prescription fraud by requiring prescriptions for the drugs to be transmitted from the doctor to the pharmacy electronically.

“We must end the illegal supply of these highly addictive drugs if we ever hope to stop the state’s growing opioid abuse problem,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Prescription fraud can happen with altered pill counts, forged signatures and completely stolen prescription pads.

“Requiring the use of electronic prescriptions for these drugs could greatly reduce the access to illegal opioids through fraud, while still providing a safe and efficient way for patients to get needed pain medications.”

Senate Bill 802 would require prescriptions for controlled substances containing opioids or benzodiazepines be electronically transmitted to a pharmacy by Jan. 1, 2020.

To ensure the new requirement is not an unreasonable burden on prescribers, the bill would give the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services the ability to grant a waiver if internet access is an issue.

“By using this available technology, we can help reduce drug diversion, which comes in many forms and is fueling the opioid crisis,” Zorn said. “We have seen the terrible impacts of the opioid epidemic in our state and our local communities. It is time for Michigan to join other states with an e-prescribing requirement for controlled substances to help us stop abusers and drug dealers from using fraudulent prescriptions to get these dangerous drugs.”

Six states have enacted laws requiring some sort of electronic prescription and six other states have legislation pending.