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What Are Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs?

Healthcare providers are not always able to diagnose, treat, and heal their patients. But there's no reason why a patient should leave a doctor's office in worse condition than when he or she arrived.


The concept of "first, do not harm" is the foundation of bioethics, and medical schools around the world instill it in their students from day one. It has broad applications across all specialties, from an OB-GYN who should not perform unnecessary screenings that could hurt the fetus to a geriatric doctor who should not prescribe an ailing patient with a 10th medication that might react with the other nine.


In order to do no harm, doctors must use all the resources at their disposal with every patient. For example, they should always review a patient's history of addiction and any drug-seeking behaviors before prescribing a controlled substance. Otherwise, the consequences could be fatal.


Fortunately, Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) make it easy to view a patient's history with narcotics and note any potential risks. If a provider knows a patient has a history of addiction and fails to consult this list before prescribing pain relievers, it could be considered negligent, and the doctor may be liable for any harm that results.


If your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse made an error when prescribing, preparing, or administering medication, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. To discuss your case with a medical malpractice lawyer in New Orleans and determine the best way to proceed, turn to The Bowling Law Firm.


David A. Bowling has more than 30 years of trial experience. Call 877-757-3539 to schedule a case evaluation.


What Are Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs?


Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs track, screen, and scrutinize prescribing and administering data submitted by dispensing practitioners and pharmacists. Currently, 49 states have an operational PDMP, and they use it to prevent prescription drug abuse.


In Louisiana, for example, the PDMP collected more than 12,000,000 prescription records in 2011. This information is available for various parties to request access to, including:


  • Prescribers and pharmacists;
  • Law enforcement personnel;
  • Licensing boards;
  • Patients;
  • Prosecutors;
  • Correctional supervisors;
  • Medicaid Fraud and Abuse personnel; and
  • Other PDMPs.


The PDMP in Louisiana became operational in 2008 and monitors schedule II, III, IV, and V drugs, as well as ephedrine products and butalbital. 


Can I Sue My Provider for a Drug Addiction?


In most cases, patients who develop a dependence on a particular medication cannot sue their providers for prescribing it; however, there are some exceptions. For example, if a physician knowingly prescribes a powerful opioid to a recovering drug addict despite the fact that other treatment modalities, like physical therapy, can help the patient achieve relief, it may be considered a breach of the duty of care.


If you think your doctor was negligent in prescribing a certain medication but you're not sure how to prove it, contact The Bowling Law Firm today. Call 877-757-3539 to schedule a consultation with a medical malpractice attorney in New Orleans. If you want to learn more about malpractice claims in Louisiana, visit






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