House pill mill bill gives big pharmacies a boostby Dara Kam | March 30th, 2011
The House gave retail pharmacies a boost this morning in its approach to reining in pill mills by going after rogue distributors.
Rep. Robert Schenck, sponsor of the bill (HB 7095), offered an amendment that would limit dispensation of narcotics to pharmacies that are publicly traded, have more than $100 million of taxable assets in Florida or have been in operation continuously for at least a decade.
The measure would also require the use of tamper-proof prescription pads or electronic prescribing for all controlled substances.
Schenck’s amendment, approved by the House Judiciary Committee this morning, also goes a bit easier on dispensing docs than his previous proposal which would have banned them from dispensing virtually any medications. Under Schenck’s new plan, only the pharmacies could dole out Schedule II and III drugs. Schedule II drugs iclude highly addictive narcotics like oxycodone and hydrocodone, morphine, and codeine. Schedule 3 drugs include sedatives and steroid compounds.
The new House plan caps the number of doses of a controlled substance that can be delivered to each pharmacy at 5,000 per month.
“These additional provisions reflect the real concerns that have been raised about doctor-shopping, fraudulent prescriptions, and inappropriate behavior by pharmacies. I am confident that these measures along with banning the dispensing and direct sale of controlled substances by doctor-dealers will be an effective front-end solution that will cut to the heart of our state’s prescription drug abuse epidemic,” Schenck, R-Spring Hill, said in a statement.
Sen. Mike Fasano, who’s championing Attorney General Pam Bondi’s proposed pill mill legislation, said the House plan could place severe restrictions on access to pain medications for legitimate patients in rural areas.
“It shocks me that the House would continue to move in a direction of deregulating a profession in many ways that has killed thousands of lives in the state of Florida,” Fasano, R-New Port Richey, said.
Senate President Mike Haridopolos tapped Fasano to negotiate with the House on the pill mill legislation.
The main sticking point is the prescription drug database, which House Speaker Dean Cannon (and Gov. Rick Scott) want to scrap. Senate President Mike Haridopolos insists the database needs to get up and running.
Wednesday’s House action apparently hasn’t brought Fasano and Schenck closer together. “We’ve met once. He has made it very clear that their stand is firm. I have made it very clear that we are not repealing the prescription drug monitoring program,” Fasano said.
Tags: Dean Cannon, Mike Fasano, Mike Haridopolos, PDMP, pill mills, prescription drug abuse, prescription drug database, Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, prescription drugs, Rick Scott, Robert Schenck