As part of the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) efforts to better monitor prescribing patterns of benzodiazepines and to prevent the inappropriate use of addictive drugs, MOH is proposing to make it mandatory for all doctors to enter dispensing details for all benzodiazepines into a web-based Central Drug Prescribing Registry (CDPR) system.
Besides enabling MOH to monitor prescribing patterns for these drugs, the system will allow doctors to identify “doctor-hopping” behaviours of potential drug abusers who may visit different clinics to get their drugs.
Benzodiazepines are drugs commonly prescribed for treating insomnia, anxiety and other medical conditions. However, patients who use these drugs inappropriately on a long term basis may become dependent on the drugs, potentially leading to a drug addiction problem.
The errant prescription of potentially addictive drugs by some doctors is a recurring problem encountered by MOH and the Singapore Medical Council (SMC). Over the period 2007-2010, 64 complaints were received and dealt with by the Singapore Medical Council in relation to the excessive/inappropriate prescribing of drugs.
Proposal for mandatory use of the Central Drug Prescribing Registry (CDPR) system for doctors
The Ministry proposes to make it mandatory for doctors in all medical clinics and hospital outpatient services to enter patient and prescription details relating to benzodiazepines into the CDPR.
This monitoring system will enable doctors to make informed decisions on whether to start, continue or change the medications for their patients, taking into account the patient’s prior benzodiazepine usage. This helps to make care safer by avoiding duplicate or excessive prescriptions. In addition, the system will serve as an alert in helping doctors identify patients
who “doctor-hop” to get their prescriptions. Each patient’s prescription records for benzodiazepines can be accessed only by his/her attending doctor.
All benzodiazepines that are available locally will be monitored in the CDPR system. These include:
From 7 December 2011 till 7 January 2012, MOH is seeking views and feedback from the public on the implementation of the proposed mandatory drug prescribing monitoring system for benzodiazepines. The public consultation paper can be accessed on the MOH website at www.moh.gov.sg/econsultation/benzo and also at the Government Online Consultation Portal at www.REACH.gov.sg. You can also send your feedback to email@example.com, or mail to Ministry of Health (Customer Relations Branch), College of Medicine Building, 16 College Road, Singapore 169854. All feedback should reach the Ministry by 7 January 2012.