"The idea is not to help people, but to rake in as much cash as they can."
Adding cash purchases to the database would give law enforcement officials another tool to track pill mills and shut them down, Raynes-Kidder said.
The database would have to be nationwide because many West Virginia residents live within 30 miles of a neighboring state, Raleigh County Sheriff Steve Tanner said.
"We don't want to create a database here and have someone drive 40 miles into another state to get a prescription filled," Tanner said.
He pointed out that the databases for prescription drugs are already in place and the cost to add cash purchases would be nominal.
The system could be operational almost immediately, he said.
The West Virginia Sheriffs Association will ask the state's Congressional delegation to support a measure requiring cash purchases be added to the national databases, Raynes-Kidder said.
The databases would provide real-time data to the pharmacy benefit managers, which then could alert law enforcement officials to abnormalities such as a sharp increase in the number of narcotics prescribed by a specific doctor or a patient obtaining multiple prescriptions of the same drug during a day.
Authorities then could begin an investigation or advise the pharmacy not to fill the prescription, Bricker said.
When asked if notifying law enforcement about a specific individual's prescriptions would violate medical record privacy laws, Tanner answered, "We lose a person a day to prescription drug overdoses."
The program would focus more on the pharmacies themselves and would not look too closely at individuals getting their prescriptions filled, Bricker said.
The legislation requiring the practice is not yet drafted, and officials are unsure if the pharmacy benefit managers would be prevented from identifying people by name when notifying law enforcement, said Mary Rosado, vice president of government relations for Express Scripts.
Officials do not see much opposition to the measure around the nation, Raynes-Kidder said.