The Prescription Monitoring Association of Nova Scotia (PMANS) was incorporated in October 1991. In January 1992 the PMANS began operating a prescription monitoring program to monitor the prescribing and dispensing of specific narcotic and controlled drugs in Nova Scotia with the objective of curbing the overuse, misuse and diversion of these substances. Policy guidelines were established to give the program the ability to monitor specific narcotic and controlled drugs through the use of a triplicate prescription pad. Pharmacists were required through legislation to dispense these drugs only when they were prescribed on a triplicate prescription pad. Pharmacists were also required to send one of the triplicate copies to PMANS, where staff manually compiled the prescription data.
Although PMANS was a voluntary association limited by its manual method of capturing prescription data on monitored drugs, it played a vital role in identifying the need to establish a legislative framework to support the operations of a prescription monitoring program. Consequently, the Prescription Monitoring Act was approved in October 2004 and subsequently proclaimed along with the Prescription Monitoring Regulations in June 2005. A Prescription Monitoring Board was appointed with the legislated mandate to establish and operate a prescription monitoring program for Nova Scotia. The objects of the Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program (NSPMP) are to promote the appropriate use of monitored drugs; and the reduction of the abuse or misuse of monitored drugs.
Under the authority of the Prescription Monitoring Act, Medavie Blue Cross was appointed as the administrator of the NSPMP.
In conjunction with the new legislation, the administrator implemented an on-line system to receive prescription information for the specified list of monitored drugs. By the end of 2007, all community pharmacies were submitting this information via the on-line system and the triplicate prescription pad was replaced with a duplicate prescription pad.
In 2012, the NSPMP launched an online application (eAccess) that enabled prescribers and pharmacists to access program data 24/7. The portal allows prescribers and pharmacists to quickly access the most recent 18 months of NSPMP patient prescribing history prior to prescribing and dispensing monitored drugs.
In 2016, NSPMP fully integrated with the provincial Drug Information System (DIS) to transmit monitored drug claim information directly to NSPMP via multiple daily extracts. Once the extract is received, the monitored drug claims information is uploaded to the NSPMP database and to eAccess.
The NSPMP has continued to evolve and advance the program operation within its mandate. There has been expansion of monitoring activities in 2018 to integrate benzodiazepines into its collection of prescription dispensing data. Work continues on the operationalization of the monitoring activities of benzodiazepines, as well as, a continued focus on opioid usage in the province.