Prescribing and Dispensing Monitored Drugs

Effective November 1, 2011, the Narcotics Safety and Awareness Act and its regulation came into effect. New requirements will enable the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to track prescribing and dispensing activities relating to monitored drugs.

Now, in order for a patient to obtain a prescription for a monitored drug, there are a number of new requirements that prescribers, dispensers and patients must follow. The new requirements enable the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to track all prescriptions for monitored drugs dispensed in Ontario, and provide the Ministry with authority to collect, use and disclose such information, including personal health information.

One of the key new requirements for all prescribers, including dentists, is that effective November 1, 2011, a prescriber must record all of the following information on the prescription of a monitored drug:

  • identification number of the patient and the type of identification used;

  • registration number on the certificate of registration issued to the prescriber by the College of which he or she is a member;

  • name of the person for whom the monitored drug is prescribed;

  • name, strength (where applicable) and quantity of the monitored drug; directions for use of the monitored drug;

  • name and address of the prescriber;

The new requirements to record the prescriber registration number and patient identification number on the prescription of a monitored drug serve to improve the accuracy and completeness of prescription data collected. This will ultimately lead to better patient outcomes by enabling interventions, such as the ability to generate appropriate alerts when a person is accessing monitored drugs from multiple prescribers and/or pharmacies.

Please visit the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website for a list of approved forms of identification.

It is important to note the Narcotics Safety and Awareness Act, 2010 requires prescribers of monitored drugs to record their registration number issued by the College (i.e. the prescriber license number) on prescriptions for monitored drugs. This is a legislated requirement. The Narcotics Safety and Awareness Act, 2010 gives the ministry the authority to disclose information, including personal health information, relating to the prescribing and dispensing of monitored drugs for the purposes of the Act. Therefore, it does permit the ministry to report such information to regulatory colleges and/or law enforcement authorities where there is suspected unlawful activity.