Senate prez adamant about getting and keeping Rx drug databaseby Dara Kam | February 23rd, 2011
Senate President Mike Haridopolos refused to back down from his support of a statewide prescription drug database despite Gov. Rick Scott’s attack on the privately funded program.
“I think this is a good idea,” Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, told reporters at his weekly Q-and-A session this afternoon.
Haridopolos said he “couldn’t be more strong about” the need for the database to curb “doctor-shopping” and help law enforcement officials go after prescription drug abuse.
“The governor has every right to have his opinion and I respect that. My opinion is strong. We will get this funded because it’s a major problem. It is destroying people’s lives. I think we need to take a vigilant stand and lead and make sure that Florida is no longer the pill mill capital of America. This is a real problem,” Haridopolos said. “Yes. I’m passionate about it.”
Read the rest of Haridopolos’ comments after the jump.
“If it takes private money or public money, we should pay for it and we should eradicate this out of Florida. It is a major problem. Yes. I’m passionate about it,” he said.
Haridopolos rejected Scott’s belief that the database, which would collect data from every Schedule II, III or IV prescription – including pain killers like oxycodone and milder drugs like Valium and Xanax – is an invasion of privacy.
“No. Everyone recognizes Florida has a problem. And we either do something about it or we don’t.
Right now, when you swipe your credit card and you purchase anything, there’s plenty of data out there. On our drivers license, there’s plenty of data out there. Your insurance company, plenty of data out there.
I think this would be an effective tool to stop the people who are shopping or using multiple doctors to acquire these narcotics for their personal use or to destroy other peoples’ lives. I think this is something we don’t want to do but is something that is absolutely required,” he said.
On Scott’s accusation that the foundation that supports the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program is wasting donors’ money:
“Of course we’ll look at those concerns. But the goal will be the same – to create a database so that people aren’t doctor-shopping and abusing these pills. It’s been successful in other states. We’re not reinventing the wheel here. This is something that’s been successful. We’re going to do our best.”
Scott has “legitimate concerns and he is an equal partner,” Haridopolos said.
“But I think we feel passionately that we need to get this done,” he said. “These people are preying on people. It is awful and we need to have more tools to aggressively go after them. Couldn’t be more strong about it.”