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Pill mill rules stalled in House

by Dara Kam | May 6th, 2011

Lawmakers are on the brink of finishing up work without ratifying rules implementing strict regulation of pill mills passed last year.

The Florida Senate unanimously signed off on two bills approving the new rules for doctors (SB 1990) and pain management clinics (SB 2168) a week ago but the House has yet to take them up with less than 18 hours left in the session.

The rules include penalties for doctors at the clinics who do not comply with a 72-hour prescription limit.

Efforts by Attorney General Pam Bondi and Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, to strengthen the regulations also are flailing, but even if passed would be difficult to implement without the current rules in effect.

“A lot of what has to be put in place has to be done by rule. It’s in the House’s hands. I don’t know what their intentions are,” Fasano said late Thursday night.

Palm Beach County’s Rep. Joe Abruzzo, D-Wellington, and former state Sen. Dave Aronberg, a Greenacres Democrat now working as Bondi’s drug czar, were instrumental in getting the pill mill regulations passed last year.

Lawmakers last year overrode Gov. Charlie Crist’s veto of a measure requiring the legislature’s approval of rules that cost more than $200,000 a year, meaning they must now sign off on rules regulating pill mills.

If they fail to act before Friday, it could be until the legislature reconvenes in January before they could be approved.

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