Attorney General Jack Conway accused the Kentucky Medical Association of trying to defeat certain provisions of proposed legislation regarding prescription drug abuse, including provisions regarding the Kentucky All Scheduled Prescription Electronic Reporting system.
It is important to understand that KASPER is a system that tracks controlled substance medications purchased in Kentucky — everything from pain medicine to medicines designed to relieve anxiety.
If you have taken such a prescription, you are in the KASPER system, and under your name, there is a list of such prescriptions you have purchased over time.
Physicians have used KASPER data for a number of years. While it is not a perfect system, it has certainly improved, and it could still be better. For instance, physicians should be allowed to run a report to see their own prescribing history, something that would be very useful to us but is not currently allowed.
There is clearly a need for action to combat prescription drug abuse in this state, and the KMA promotes a balanced approach that considers the need for treating legitimate pain, law enforcement and patient privacy.
Our issues with the proposed legislation are twofold. The law regarding KASPER was designed to restrict access to such sensitive information. The current proposal to move KASPER into the Attorney General's office and allow wider access to the prescription histories of every Kentuckian turns away from the current policy regarding a tightly controlled system.
This should be a matter of some concern given the attorney general's desire to make KASPER a "law enforcement tool." It is a major shift in policy for our state, and one that has not been properly debated.
Our second issue concerns provisions in the legislation that would outline how patients are to be treated, what documentation must occur and other action required of physicians before they can prescribe a controlled substance. Such laws may keep many physicians from prescribing through fear of violating the law and could increase physicians' liability as well.
This is clearly overreach and will affect any patient trying to get treatment for the smallest amount of pain.
We welcome a broader discussion of these issues and hope something meaningful and balanced can be passed by the legislature that will address the scourge of prescription drug abuse.