HITN's Opioid Safety Alliance Celebrates Introduction of the ALERT Act

Bill would enact a Prescription Safety Alert System to deliver real-time information to clinicians on opioid dispensing patterns

WASHINGTON, DC (August 30, 2018): Health IT Now's Opioid Safety Alliance - a working group of prescribers, dispensers, professional societies, and patients advocating for the use of technology to fight illegitimate opioid use - celebrated the introduction today of H.R. 6688, the Analyzing and Leveraging Existing Rx Transactions (ALERT) Act of 2018

The bill, sponsored by Representatives Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), Ann Kuster (D-NH), and Barbara Comstock (R-VA), would effectuate a key legislative priority of the Alliance by enacting a Prescription Safety Alert System which is based on a model developed by NCPDP (National Council for Prescription Drug Programs) that uses existing, ANSI-accredited standards that are widely implemented in the industry. 

The system would complement the work of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) by delivering real-time, in-workflow clinical data at the point of dispensing using already existing transaction information - including capturing transactions that may occur across state lines and unsuccessful fill attempts. This would help stop fraudulent transactions before they are completed and empower clinicians to identify those at risk for misuse. 

"The enactment of a Prescription Safety Alert System has been a chief goal of the Opioid Safety Alliance from the start. Today, clinicians rely on PDMPs to flag fraudulent opioid transactions and, while these systems hold great promise, significant blind spots remain," said Joel White, Executive Director of HITN's Opioid Safety Alliance. "Too often PDMPs are not updated in real-time, do not include prescriptions filled across state lines, and do not include fill attempts - leaving clinicians with only a partial view of a patient's true opioid history. The Prescription Safety Alert System delineated in the ALERT Act will arm clinicians with the proper tools to thwart opioid misuse in real-time and prevent undue delays in access for those with a legitimate medical need. The Opioid Safety Alliance thanks Representatives MacArthur, Kuster, and Comstock for their leadership on this life-saving solution and looks forward to its swift passage so that, together, we can change the devastating status quo of 115 opioid-related deaths per day." 

“It is gratifying to have NCPDP’s model supported by the HITN Opioid Safety Alliance and Representatives MacArthur, Kuster, and Comstock,” 
added Lee Ann Stember, President and CEO of NCPDP. “Our members representing diverse stakeholder perspectives developed the model to provide a sustainable solution that conforms to provider workflows and can complement existing PDMPs to prevent diversion, ensure appropriate access to medications for patients with a valid medical need, and protect patients.”


  • Read HITN Opioid Safety Alliance Executive Director Joel White and NCPDP President Lee Ann Stember's March 28, 2018 op-ed in The Hill championing enactment of a Prescription Safety Alert System here.
  • See a video explaining the Prescription Safety Alert System courtesy of HITN's Opioid Safety Alliance here.