In 2011, Attorney General Schneiderman unveiled the “Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act,” or “I-STOP.” In June 2012, the New York State Legislature unanimously passed, and in August 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law. On August 27, 2013, I-STOP will go into full effect statewide.
The goal of I-STOP is to enable doctors and pharmacists to provide prescription pain medications, and other controlled substances, to patients who truly need them. At the same time, it will arm them with the necessary data to detect potentially dangerous drug interactions, identify patterns of abuse by patients, doctors and pharmacists, help those who suffer from crippling addictions and prevent potential addiction before it starts.
These enhancements of the state’s prescription drug monitoring program are all necessary to assist in patient care by providing a doctor with a patient's accurate and up-to-date controlled substance prescription history; eliminate the problem of stolen and forged prescriptions being used to obtain controlled substances from pharmacies; crack down on illegal ‘doc-shopping,’ the practice of visiting several different doctors and pharmacies for prescription drugs; facilitate prosecutions of crooked doctors; and achieve significant savings for public and private health insurance programs.
Among the features of groundbreaking legislation:
- I-STOP establishes New York the first state in the nation to mandate that physicians consult a database of a patient's prescription history before prescribing a schedule II, III, or IV controlled substance. Accurate patient histories and better training will help physicians detect doctor shoppers and better serve patients at risk of addiction. Doctors can also use this information to avoid potentially dangerous drug interactions.
- I-STOP will make New York the largest, and only second state in the nation, to require real-time reporting by pharmacists when schedule II, III, IV or V prescriptions are filled.
- I-STOP made New York one of the first states to schedule the universal mandate of e-prescribing for controlled substances in December of 2014, and the applicable regulations were issued in March 2013. This will nearly eliminate the problem of forged or stolen prescriptions—used both by addicts, and criminal organizations obtaining pills to resell on the street.
- I-STOP mandated the rescheduling of hydrocodone to Schedule II, which ended automatic refills for this highly abused drug.
- I-STOP made tramadol, a 'drug of concern' that was previously unscheduled, a Schedule IV substance.
- I-STOP will establish a safe disposal program providing a place for New Yorkers to get rid of expired and unneeded drugs to ensure that they are not left in medicine cabinets for children or addicts to access. New Yorkers can locate a nearby year-round drop box you on the State Department of Health’s website here.
I-STOP will also deter fraud against private health insurers and the state government. Taxpayers have been paying for a substantial portion of the over-prescribed pills through the Medicaid program. Each ring of collusive patients and prescribers prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit represented a loss to the State of at least $1 million.