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How Do Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Reduce Opioid Prescribing? The Role of Hassle Costs versus Information

Abby E. Alpert, Sarah E. Dykstra, Mireille Jacobson

NBER Working Paper No. 27584
Issued in July 2020
NBER Program(s):Health Care, Health Economics, Law and Economics

Past work demonstrates that mandated prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) decrease opioid prescribing, but provides limited evidence on mechanisms. We analyze Kentucky’s landmark PDMP mandate to disentangle the role of information versus hassle costs. PDMP mandates are meant to affect prescribing through information provision but may also unintentionally affect prescribing through the hassle cost of required record checks. On net, we find that although information clearly affected prescribing, hassle costs explain the majority of the decline in prescribing from this program. Hassle costs, however, did not deter physicians from prescribing opioids to the patients who would benefit the most

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27584

 
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