Pill mill bill on life support?by Dara Kam | May 5th, 2011
GOP legislative leaders are in a standoff on a pill mill crackdown with less than 36 hours left until the session is expected to end.
Sen. Mike Fasano, the Senate’s pill mill bill sponsor, said he could not get House counterpart Robert Schenck, R-Spring Hill, to agree to a compromise proposal incorporating much of Schenck’s plan, including a ban on doctors dispensing narcotics and imposing new permitting restrictions on pharmacies.
Fasano also agreed to ban pharmaceutical companies from contributing to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, something Gov. Rick Scott has insisted on. Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has offered $1 million to the foundation responsible for paying for the database.
But Schenck sent back a dozen components he wanted in the bill, including a cap on the amount of doses of highly addictive medications that pharmacies can dole out, Fasano said.
Fasano won’t agree to the dosage caps because, he said, they are few below what hospices and pharmacies catering to cancer hospitals need to treat patients in chronic pain.
Instead, Fasano is returning to his original plan to strip the House bill, approved 116-1 last month, and put on Attorney General Pam Bondi’s language tightening penalties on rogue doctors and clinics and reducing the number of days dispensers have to report information to the prescription drug database from 14 to 7 days.
But Scott and House leaders, including Speaker Dean Cannon, have insisted on a comprehensive plan that would include restrictions on wholesalers, pharmacies and doctors to curb the illicit prescription drug market in Florida that some say has been responsible for a national prescription drug addiction crisis.
“We’ve made an offer to them but they’re thus far reluctant to accept it. So my goal is at a minimum to get the language that would enhance the penalties, go after unscrupulous doctors, unscrupulous pill mill owners, all of the AG language along with reducing the requirement of reporting to the PDMP form 14 days to 7 days,” Fasano, R-New Port Richey, said. “Right now that’s what I’d like to do but nothing’s definite.”
Read more of the differences between Schenck and Fasano after the jump.
- The House won’t agree to a one-hour training course for doctors on the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
- The House insists on capping pharmacies at 5,000 dosage unit per month for highly addictive pain medications including oxycodone.
- Fasano wants an exception to the doctors dispensation ban to allow workers’ compensation doctors to be able to dole out drugs from their offices because they’re covered under the same insurance. The House won’t take it.
- The House isn’t backing off its March 1 date for new pharmacy permit requirements to kick in. Fasano says health officials won’t have the rules ready in time for the deadline.
- The House wants to create an exemption to current “pedigree” restrictions barring wholesalers from reselling unsold, unopened drugs. Fasano says that would open the door to new exemptions.
- The House won’t agree to a 30 day “buy-back” period allowing doctors to get cash for their unsold drugs they would no longer be able to sell. The House plan currently gives them 10 days after the law goes into effect.
- And the House rejected Fasano’s offer to limit the doctor dispensation ban to physicians who take cash.