FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Prescription drug abuse is blamed for an estimated seven deaths a day in Florida and a new pharmacy database is set to launch in Florida next week. It's meant to stop doctor shopping but some pharmacies are having trouble getting on board.
The database will go live on September 1. It means if you try to have the same prescription filled in Fort Myers and Cape Coral at two different pharmacies for example, you'll be flagged. But some pharmacies are concerned they won't be ready in time.
Richard Lawrence is the owner of the Fort Myers Prescription Shop. He's hoping his computer system is ready to roll come Thursday when a new prescription database statewide goes live.
"To make sure a patient isn't filling a prescription for a similar controlled substance at another pharmacy from another doctor," said Lawrence.
Lawrence along with other pharmacies throughout southwest Florida have been working with software vendors to get the new programs up and running by the time the September 1 deadline rolls around.
"Its not the easiest thing in the world. You've got to integrate all these different computer software systems and be able to put them into a database that everybody has to be able to turn around and look at," said Lawrence.
Pharmacies will now be required by law to enter prescription information into the database.
"If you're going to two doctors and two pharmacies that means you're getting enough medication that you're probably not taking it all yourself," said Mike Coppedge, Pharm. D & owner, Acology Pharmacy, Cape Coral.
Pharmacists will have to enter who gets the drugs, how much they receive along with who the doctor is. The database is being put in place to stop prescription drug abuse.
"WIthin a month or two, it will really, really cut down on these patients who are seeing multiple doctors," said Lawrence.
At Acology Pharmacy, their software is ready to launch but Coppedge figures there will be some bugs to get out of the system to start.
"Some of the data may not be read right and I suspect the first few weeks will be a little bit challenging," said Coppedge.
Once the bugs are worked out and the challenges are met, the database will hopefully help save lives and cut down on people double dipping for pills.
"In the long run it should help get people, catch people who are doctor shopping," said Lawrence.
After September 1, Florida will join 34 other states across the nation who monitor prescription drugs.