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House pill mill bill gives big pharmacies a boost

by 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.

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9 Responses to “House pill mill bill gives big pharmacies a boost”

  1. Educator Says:

    Won’t this make overdoses harder to occur? What do we do with the influx of addicts that aren’t dying?

  2. Bill Eley Says:

    I guess the chains have influence over this committee. Independent pharmacies are more cautious regarding controlled substances than the big box stores. I thought a Republican controlled Legislature should support small business, which independent pharmacies are. What a great idea to scrap a controlled substance database that monitors providers writing prescriptions.

  3. N. Lois Adams Says:

    This entire matter is unbelievable!!!What an insult to our integrity. Independent pharmacists know their patients and are able to discern if a prescription is fraudulent. We are part of the solution- not a part of the problem. Those who violate the law should be punished. We intend to be heard. I have been a pharmacist in leadership roles for a great many years including the control of narcotics throughout a major hospital system. I am still a consumate professional as are my collegues. Many other states have a database. What seems to be the reason that Rep. Csnnon does not want it? . Why are they putting this problem on the backs of the independent pharmacists instead of the real culprits- those who write the prescriptions?.and why are they not listening to their constituents who elected them? Why are they supporting the chains? In most cases their management are not even professionals. Are the inmates running the assylum?

  4. Carlos Says:

    As an Independent Pharmacist who owns a legitimate pharmacy, i am deeply saddened that our representatives would take measure to eliminate 14000 jobs in the state of florida. Every day i and my staff go to work, we make a difference in the lives of many people. It is like a family. This bill would destroy us, because just like all the other independents out there, we dispense medicine for pain, anxiety, sleep, and along with these control 2 and 3 comes 12-13 other medicines that the patient needs. I agree that something needs to be done about the illegal drug problem, but we independents are not the problem. Limit the prescribing and dispensing power of the physicians and you are all set. Slowly, the rogue independents will shut down. This bill is NOT the solution.

  5. Chris Says:

    Does it really make a difference if a publicly traded company or a small independent pharmacy (small business) provide pharmacy services for their patients? Have there been any studies that show pharmacies that are publicly traded/assets over $100 million provide better care for their patients than a small independent pharmacy? I am confident that there are none. This legislation is clearly favorable to the wealthy elite/corporations. I wonder how many House Reps own shares of these publicly traded companies. Independent pharmacy is the backbone of the pharmacy profession. We provide a service that the patient needs, we go that extra step for the patient. Most of the big coporate chain drug stores do not even carry the different types of pain medications that are needed. Hospice and nursing home patients are just some of the types of patients that need these medications. To prevent my pharmacy from supplying these medications would severly hurt my Hospice, nursing home and assisted living facilities patients and ultimately lose these contracts with these facilities. Call your local state rep and ask them to repeal HB7095.

  6. R Says:

    The part they don’t tell you about this bill is that it will repeal a previous bill, stating felons convicted of narcotics trafficking can run pain management clinics. So tell me HOW in Hades this NEW bill solves the problem?!

  7. R Says:

    oops..I meant CAN’T run pain clinics (my bad…lol!)

  8. m Says:

    Yup, big business wins again. Forget the local small business that are pulling this country out of a recession. Oh and lets not mention how drug addicts get the prescription in the first place, FROM DOCTORS. No lets punish our local independent pharamcies that actually care about their customers, and provide actual service, not to mention employ nearly 13,942 Floridians.

  9. Paul Culler Says:

    An analogy to this might be – Claw hammers are a lethal weapon – therefore, claw hammers can only be sold by Home Depot and Lowes and maybe Ace Hardware, dependent on how long they have been in business! Da! give me a break! This is The United States of America

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