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Legislature passes prescription tracking bill

New York lawmakers have approved legislation requiring doctors to issue drug prescriptions electronically within three years.

Part of a broad measure to curtail abuse of prescription painkillers, it would require the Health Department to publish regulations by December  31 for electronic prescriptions for state-listed controlled substances.

Doctors would have to transmit those electronically to pharmacists within two years.

Sponsors say it will ensure prescriptions, still frequently written on paper, won't be altered or misinterpreted.

The bill follows last week's agreement among top lawmakers, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

It would require pharmacists to immediately report filling painkiller prescriptions, including the patient and prescriber names, and require doctors to check patient records before writing new ones.

The Senate approved the bill Monday, 58-0, followed by the Assembly, 116-0.