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Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Database OK’d


Florida’s prescription drug monitoring database, which has been opposed by the state’s governor, was given the go-ahead on Friday by the state’s Department of Health. The Miami Herald reports that proponents of the database say it will help fight the state’s prescription drug epidemic, while Governor Rick Scott has said the database would be an invasion of privacy and would not help solve the prescription drug abuse epidemic plaguing the state.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says the database will help law enforcement in quickly identifying and arresting operators of storefront pain clinics, the newspaper reports. The program will not rely on state funding. Federal grants and private funding, including $1 million from Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, will pay for the database for about two years. The database program was scheduled to launch in December, but it was held up by bid disputes between vendors.

Florida has been a destination for people from other states who have been flocking to storefront pain clinics, known as “pill mills,” to stock up on prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Xanax. The database will not be a cure-all for the pill mill problem, the newspaper points out. Doctors are not required to check the database before prescribing drugs, and there will be a 15-day window to enter prescription information—plenty of time for people to hop from doctor to doctor to obtain large amounts of medication.

11 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of Jeffrrey Kamlet, MD
    Jeffrrey Kamlet, MD / May 10, 2011 at 9:30 am

    My practice is also a registered pain clinic and I am so happy that this bill was passes.
    legitimate] pain patients will not have a problem and it does not affect MMT clinics.
    There is an epidemic of prescription Rx usage because of FL. affecting the whole east coast. This will do alot to stop that.
    I treat addiction and ethical pain and do it well. No one needs 240 short acting 30 mgs oxycodone/month. 120 xanax and 80 soma’s ( typical pill mill rx) per month.
    Chronic pain patients like MMT , get long acting opiate rx to take daily with small amounts of short acting for break through pain and situational pain.

  2. Chris Kelly / April 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Just more BIG BROTHER in America…..Florida would be better served by using this money for actual DRUG TREATMENT rather than prescription monitoring.

  3. Avatar of Cassie
    Cassie / April 14, 2011 at 9:54 am

    It isn’t your entire medical record. Geez!! It is a database of the prescription medications that have been prescribed for you. Pharmacists can do that now with all the prescriptions that they fill. That is in no way invading your privacy. Especially, to track down the scum that travels south to pick up medications that they are going to sell. In addition, if you read the Health Privacy law a little more, it isn’t an invasion of privacy for partner agencies to see medical records when they are using said records to help the person. And yes, I work in a healthcare facility so I am not speaking without some knowledge behind what I say.

  4. Avatar of calouste
    calouste / April 12, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Um, Joshua… did you know about the governor’s big conflict of interest in this issue?

  5. Avatar of Michael sheehan
    Michael sheehan / April 12, 2011 at 12:27 am

    Excellent! Doctor shopping is a felony. If there is a way to minimize it, then the databank should be used to cut down on illegal opiate drug use, drug dependence, and may help to get people into treatment for their addiction problems. It will help and will save lives.

  6. Avatar of Joshua
    Joshua / April 11, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    great, now the Florida police have a free way to open medical records without a warrant. Once the police find out how nice it is to arrest people without evidence, warrants, or actual police work this database will never go away. props to gov Scott for standing up against it, too bad the department of health can over-rule the 4th ammendment.

  7. Avatar of peryrants
    peryrants / April 11, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    yes, drug addicts need their rights protected too. drug dealers need their medical records sealed. all three hundred of them!

  8. Joshua / April 13, 2011 at 11:19 am

    I agree. the drug addicts and dealers need their rights protected. That is the only way to guarantee that everyone else’s rights are protected. If the police can find evidence that people are doing things illegally, it shouldn’t be hard for them to get search warrants and take records from doctors who are prescribing too much or pharmacists who are filling too many. This is why the fourth ammendment was included in the constitution. In this case, any police officer who can’t actually find evidence, or is too lazy to do any research, is welcome to take private medical records directly from this database and arrest whoever he wants. By making it optional for doctors to enter data in the system, the doctors actually causing the problem opt out and it almost guarantees that one being arrested here is an innocent person in pain whose prescription had a typo.

  9. Joshua / April 13, 2011 at 11:54 am

    i’m not really concerned when people do the right thing because they have a financial incentive to do so, rather than doing it because they think it’s right.

  10. Joshua / April 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    so the database is unnecessary, great!

  11. Joshua / April 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    my problem is not that the information about prescriptions is shared among people providing medical services, it’s when they hand that information over to the police without a warrant that i have a problem with. i agree that doctors should know about treatments/medications other doctors are giving you, that is the only way they can make accurate diagnoses. but if people beleive that those records are given directly to the police, it changes that relationship significantly. police officers have no role in medical treatment, and unless they can get a warrant for it, they shouldn’t be going through any medical records.

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