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Florida's Pill Mill Problem So Bad That Oxy Maker Agrees to Pay to Have Pills Tracked

The drug company that makes OxyContin seems more concerned about Florida's drug epidemic than the governor.

First, the manufacturer began reformulating its pill to prevent snorting or shooting the drug. Now, the company, Purdue Pharma, has offered $1 million to help fund Florida's prescription drug tracking system. Purdue will provide $500,000 a year for the next two

years to fund the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).

The announcement came on the heels of a Florida Judge's decision on Tuesday that may have cleared the way for the tracking system, despite dubious ambivalence from Governor Rick Scott and House Speaker Dean Cannon.

John H. Stewart, the president and CEO of Purdue, said that he hopes to mitigate whatever financial constraints that may prevent Governor Scott from implementing the program.

"We appreciate the financial position, but at the same time believe that a prescription drug monitoring program in Florida can help curb prescription drug abuse in that state and other states as well," Stewart said in a statement released by Purdue. "It is our hope that this effort can become part of a larger public/private partnership to address the abuse and diversion of prescription medications."

When asked about some of Governor Scott's non-financial concerns regarding the PDMP, Purdue spokesman Jim Heins said that the company prefers not to weigh in on the state legislature's ideological views.

But he added:

"There are plenty of other states that have prescription drug monitoring programs  and still have the capacity to protect patients' privacy."

In addition to the $1 million for Florida's PDMP, Purdue is giving another $1 million grant to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) to fund a system that will create interoperability between the 42 states that already have PDMPs. 

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