House "Pill Mill" Bill Blocks Major Funding for Database

After Gov. Rick Scott reluctantly withdrew his opposition to a prescription drug tracking system, a House committee dropped the proposed repeal last week and restored the database into its legislation aimed at combating prescription drug abuse.

By a vote of 116-1, the Florida House passed that bill yesterday. But one element of the bill, HB 7095, might essentially nullify the rebirth of the database.

The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) already receives zilch in state funding, and now the House measure prohibits makers of commonly abused drugs from making donations to fund the database. Therefore, it blocks the $1 million donation offered by the maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma.

The PDMP has received enough funding for at least one year of operation and is set to begin in August. Still, such provisions will surely meet opposition as the legislation heads to the Senate.

"I have great concern, even though they were not successful in repealing the PDMP; they are doing their best to chock off any dollars that would get the PDMP up and running and being successful," Sen. Mike Fasano told the AP.

The House bill would also ban most doctors from dispensing certain drugs, toughen penalties for illicit pill mill operators, and limit pharmacies to dispensing no more than 5,000 doses of the medications. That limit on pharmacies, however, might impinge on the treatment of legitimate pain suffers, so the House slipped in a provision that calls for a study of the dosage limit. 

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