Philadelphia drug stores, hospitals get new requirements for reporting opioid prescriptions, overdoses

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia City Council passed two bills right before adjourning that are intended to help the city put a dent in the opioid epidemic by increasing reporting requirements on hospitals and pharmacies.

One bill would require all city pharmacies to report to the Health Department all the prescriptions they fill for opioids by doctors' names only. Health Commissioner Tom Farley requested the requirement so the city can identify doctors who overprescribe the highly addictive medication.

"The opioid crisis started with doctors writing too many prescriptions for too many opioids to too many patients, and some doctors are still writing too many prescriptions, and we need this information so we know who they are and we can get them to treat pain more safely," he said.

Farley says the plan is for health department staff to visit the doctors to educate them about the danger of overprescribing, or even involve law enforcement if prescription amounts are dangerously high.

The other bill, sponsored by Councilmember Allan Domb, would require hospitals to report the number of overdoses they treat and how many of those are referred to drug treatment.

Farley says the city's hospitals are on board.

"We know that people who have one overdose are at very high risk of dying from another overdose and we need those hospital emergency departments to help people get into drug treatment, and this bill will just give us information about how well they are doing," Farley added.

The mayor is expected to sign both.