New York state lawmakers have approved legislation requiring doctors to issue drug prescriptions electronically within three years.
The requirement is part of a broad measure to stop the abuse of prescription painkillers. Doctors would have to start transmitting prescriptions of state-controlled substances to pharmacists electronically within two years.
Sponsors say it will ensure prescriptions, which are still frequently written on paper, won't be altered or misinterpreted.
But State Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon says there's still a lot more work to be done to help stop abuse of prescription drugs
"We have not solved the problem," said Hannon on the floor of the senate. "We are beginning to address the problem. It's breadth and it's depth are very pervasive. And what we have as a chore ahead of us, is going to require us to continue to be watchful and to continue to be vigilant and innovative in what we propose as future public health policies."
The measure also requires pharmacists to immediately report filling painkiller prescriptions, including the patient and prescriber names, and require doctors to check patient records before writing new ones.