December 8, 2016 6:25 pm
Updated: December 8, 2016 9:09 pm

N.B. prescription drug monitoring system not efficient: pharmacist

WATCH ABOVE: The head of New Brunswick’s Pharmacy Association says the province’s new prescription drug monitoring system feels more like a horse and buggy than a new car. Global’s Paul Cormier reports.

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New Brunswick pharmacists using the new electronic prescription drug monitoring system say it needs work.

READ MORE: Officials say prescription monitoring program not a cure for drug abuse problem

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The new computer program, which aims in part to prevent drug abuse and harmful drug interactions by centralizing patient information, is difficult to use because the new system is not linked to their own database, which means filing a prescription will take longer.

“We have to log into that system to go see for drug interactions, so that’s very time consuming,” said Dennis Abud, a pharmacist. “We thought we were getting a system that would talk back to us, and that’s not happening.”

While the new program will help pharmacists better monitor a patient’s drug intake and track if a patient is trying to use a single prescription at multiple pharmacies, the head of the New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association (NBPA) fears the new system could put pharmacists at risk of liability if some potentially harmful drug interactions are missed.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia misses another deadline to fix prescription monitoring program

“It may sound like a small thing to have to log into another computer system and have to spend more time doing a manual assessment of which drug interacts with which one when you have a computer right beside you that would flag those things for you,” said Paul Blanchard, executive director of the association.

Blanchard adds that sometimes a pharmacist may not have the time to look at every one of those drug interactions, so a question of liability comes up.

“What if you didn’t look at the ones you should look at,” Blanchard said. “The government isn’t telling us which ones we should look at, they’re just saying here’s the information deal with it.”

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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