Expanding medications monitored by Iowa pharmacies

DES MOINES — The Iowa Board of Pharmacy is asking legislators to add more medications to the state’s prescription drug monitoring program.

Andrew Funk, the board’s executive director, says so-called “schedule 5” medications like cough syrup with codene or a drug called Lyrica that’s prescribed for diabetics with nerve pain are not monitored today, but could be harmful if overused.  “The board and the advisory council also would request to have the ability to identify any other drugs that would be fatal or cause toxicity in patients who are receiving those,” he says.

Representative Tom Jeneary of Le Mars was a dentist for 34 years and he’s been given the assignment of guiding the bill through the House.  “By putting on the prescription monitoring program, if a person starts buying a whole bunch of it, it’s going to show up on the radar,” he says.

The state’s prescription drug monitoring program started in 2009, giving pharmacists and doctors the ability to guard against patients who go “doctor shopping” for powerful prescription meds.