Central registry for sleeping pills proposed

PHOTO: Central registry for sleeping pills proposed

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Health (MOH) has proposed that all doctors be required to enter the details of patients they prescribe benzodiazepine drugs to.

Benzodiazepines are psychoactive drug, which result in sedative, hypnotic, anti-anxiety, muscle relaxant and amnesic action when taken.

They are used for anxiety relief, insomnia and other medical conditions, and can be addictive if used inappropriately on a long-term basis.

MOH is suggesting that prescription details for all benzodiazepines available locally be recorded into a Central Drug Prescribing Registry (CDPR) system.

This will help doctors find out and monitor how much drugs a patient has been getting, and enable the identification of patients who "doctor-hop" to get more of the drug.

The move comes in the footsteps of several doctors getting fined or suspended for prescribing drugs in the benzodiazepine family inappropriately.

From 2007 to 2010, 42 doctors have been disciplined for indiscriminately prescribing these pills.

MOH is seeking feedback from the public on this proposal. More information can be obtained and feedback submitted at www.moh.gov.sg/econconsultation/benzo or the Government Online Consultation Portal www.REACH.gov.sg.

The feedback exercise will close by Jan 7, 2011.