State Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, has grown increasingly vocal about his opposition to Gov. Rick Scott’s recommendation that the state legislature repeals Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Fasano’s and Scott’s teams have traded barbed words in committee meetings and in the press, arguing back and back forth about the perceived benefits and liabilities tied to implementing the program.
Fasano’s team is now asking what comes next. Fasano’s legislative assistant, Greg Giordano, said he was looking forward to hearing what Scott would put in place with the program: “If the governor has a better plan, I’d love to hear it.”
Scott has argued that the program would be a security liability and cost the state too much money. Fasano’s team disputes both counts.
Giordano says the repeal recommendation was nothing more than a “sneaky little one-liner that said ‘repeal’ — no explanation, no better plan.” Line 319 of the Governor’s Recommendation Conforming Bill for the Office of Drug Control simply states that Section 893.055 is “hereby repealed.”
“I understand the philosophical line of linking behind the claim that the [Drug Monitoring Program] would be a liability to security,” says Giordano. “But there are already databases in place in individual pharmacies to track medications. If they’re concerned with privacy, they should go after attacking those databases currently in place.”
To the claim that the program would be too costly for the state, Giordano is adamant that enough funds — raised through private donations to the PDMP Foundation, a nonprofit associated with the database — have already been raised to put the program in place.
Scott has also been critical of meals and travel that have been reimbursed by the PDMP Foundation. Last Tuesday, Scott told reporters that it had come to his attention that “thousands of dollars [in PDMP funds] have been spent on lawyers, travel, meals for board members.”
According to Giordano, these items were “explicitly allowed” by statute when the PDMP Task Force was created: “The legal fees that the governor has been critical of came through a private donation that was made by [Millennium Laboratories] for the express purpose of paying the legal fees to properly prepare the PDMP Foundation in the eyes of the IRS.”
The bottom line, says Giordano, is that the Drug Monitoring Program wasn’t thrown together at the last minute and that if the governor wants to repeal it, he needs to bring another option to the table.
“It’s about time for something to come out, a statement with specifics on what will be done,” Giordano says. “A lot of work went into this. A lot of people’s lives depend on it.”