California Moves to More Secure Prescription Drug Database

California doctors, pharmacists and other health care providers will soon be using a faster and more secure database designed to prevent overdoses and illegal sales of prescription drugs.

Attorney General Kamala Harris announced Tuesday that providers who log in with secure web browsers starting Jan. 8 will be using the new version of the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System, known as CURES.

It helps ensure patients don't get narcotics from multiple physicians or take harmful combinations of drugs.

The final roll-out was delayed six months while Harris' office worked with the California Medical Association over its concerns that doctors using older browsers wouldn't be able to log in.

Harris is sending a letter to providers emphasizing the need for up-to-date software to protect patients' privacy.

The older version of CURES was plagued with technical problems, making it harder for doctors and pharmacists to fully utilize the potentially life-saving system.

NBC 7 Investigates explored problems with the system in its "Fixing the Prescription Drug Database" series. A San Diego family believes if CURES was more widely used, it could have saved the life of their loved one who died from an overdose.

In other states, health care providers are required to register for and use a CURES-like database. But in California, the use of the CURES system remains optional for health care providers.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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