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Prescription drug database back on track

by Dara Kam | April 8th, 2011

The state’s long-awaited prescription drug database is back on track after state health officials signed a final order today in a bid dispute keeping the program in limbo for months.

The Department of Health signed the order moving forward with the contract with Health Information Design Inc., the Alabama-based company that twice won administrative challenges, although Gov. Rick Scott – who scrapped the database in his budget proposal – remains dubious about it.

“The concerns he’s voiced still remain. He’s concerned about patient privacy and wants to make sure that funding this thing never ends up on the backs of taxpayers. He still doesn’t think it’s the silver bullet that so many proponents claim,” Scott spokesman Brian Hughes said.

Those proponents include law enforcement officials from the state’s top cop, Attorney General Pam Bondi, to Palm Beach County state attorney Michael McAuliffe, and Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

“Stopping pill mills has been my top priority since I took office, and the prescription drug monitoring program that the Department of Health will now be implementing is an important tool in combating this crisis,” Bondi said in a statement. “As part of a criminal investigation, the program will enable law enforcement to act more quickly in identifying and arresting pill mill operators.”

Haridopolos has been in a stand-off over the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program with House Speaker Dean Cannon, who wants to repeal the system lawmakers created two years ago but has yet to be implemented. Haridopolos said he not only wants it up and running, he’s willing to have the state pay for it although state law prohibits taxpayer money from being used to create or operate the database.

“The database will provide ‘shock and awe’ in Florida’s efforts to end the criminal abuse of legal prescription drugs,” Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, said in a press release. “In addition to the Senate’s commitment to the database, pending legislation will strengthen the prescription drug monitoring program and provide even stronger privacy protections for individual Floridians.”

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2 Responses to “Prescription drug database back on track”

  1. MM Says:

    Hey Mike read these studies!

  2. Jonathan Swift Says:

    Our class-warfare Governor, Rick Scott, did try to protect his wealthy, uber-right wing, drug addict friends. He did try, indeed. But even though he was able to purchase his office and title by convincing enough useful idiots (poor and middle-class voters who choose GOP leadership vetted candidates, irregardless of the harm they are doing to themselves—hence the useful idiot moniker) to vote for him, alas, he was unsuccessful.

    It’s funny how Scott is so concerned about the privacy rights of his wealthy drug addict buddies and buddettes, but shows no hesitation in pursuing drug testing of poor and middle-class Floridians who need public assistance and/or unemployment benefits. Will Scott’s useful idiots take notice of that discrepancy?

    Another funny item about Scott: He believes that poor and middle-class Floridians should be required to jump through even more of the onerous hoops than they currently suffer to qualify for their benefits. But the proposed tax cuts for the wealthy—already amongst the lowest in America (gee, why aren’t we already knee deep in jobs, by the way)—require absolutely no requirements to qualify for, whatsoever. Will they be required to create even one job? The answer is absolutely no. Can they just pocket it? The answer is absolutely yes. Funny, isn’t it? Will Scott’s useful idiots take notice of that discrepancy, either?

    One more funny (in a terrible, sad way, of course) thing about Scott: He believes that state workers should all be drug tested, irregardless of the inconvenient document that forms the backbone of our society—The Constitution of the United States of America—indicates. But shouldn’t Scott require drug testing of all state employees, including the ones with the most power to damage Florida, the legislators of the Florida House and Senate? Yes, he should, but he won’t, of course. What will Scott’s useful idiots think of that discrepancy, I wonder?

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