Senate digs in over drug databaseby Dara Kam | March 14th, 2011
One of Attorney General Pam Bondi’s top priorities – a bill enhancing penalties for pill mill doctors and operators – received unanimous approval in its first Senate committee hearing this afternoon.
The measure (SB 818) would require the Board of Medicine to suspend a doctor’s license for six months and impose a minimum $10,000 fine for violating the state’s 72-hour dosage limit for pain management clinic docs.
Bondi said the harsher penalties – and more provisions in the yet-to-be-implemented prescription drug database included in the bill – will help her combat the state’s reputation as the nation’s illicit drug capital.
“We have become the destination for drug dealers,” Bondi said. “This is a horrible, horrible problem. Because the drug dealers are flying to Florida now to buy these drugs and take them back to other states. You are truly impacting lives today.”
The bill also enhances provisions in current laws related to the prescription drug database although the system has yet to get up and running two years after lawmakers created it.
The database is under fire from the Florida House where a committee last week passed a measure doing away with all regulation of pain clinics and replacing it with a ban on dispensing practitioners, who are responsible for only 16 percent of the oxycodone. The rest – 84 percent – comes from pharmacies.