State Sen. Mike Fasano’s so-called “pill mill bill,” which would create harsher punishments for pill mill operators and require that all doctors be trained in how to use the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, has undergone several changes in the past week.
Fasano said on the floor yesterday that he would be filing a strike-all amendment that would essentially replace the state House’s bill with his own legislation, S.B. 818 (.pdf) and the newly adopted amendments that were introduced in his name.
The amendments would enhance penalties for failing to perform physical exams of patients and for failing to properly document the need for controlled substances, as well as strengthen penalties attached to registering a pain clinic through fraudulent means. Those penalties, which currently apply to medical doctors, would also apply to osteopathic physicians.
Fasano also filed an amendment that would clarify the manner in which licensed dentists can purchase medical supplies and prescription drugs. New language was also added to strengthen the section regarding tamper-resistant medication.
Today, Fasano filed yet another amendment, which would restore the provision prohibiting state dollars from being used to fund the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, a database that tracks pain pill prescriptions.
“The senator believes that with the commitment of Attorney General Pam Bondi and law enforcement officers from around the state, as well as federal grants and private donations: There should be adequate funding sources for the PDMP,” says Greg Giordano, Fasano’s chief legislative aide.
Funding for the Drug Monitoring Program has proved to be one of the biggest hurdles to its implementation.
Originally, the program would have been funded by strictly private donations and federal grants. But a recent announcement about the availability of those grants has concerned many of the database’s supporters. Fortunately for Fasano and others like him, the PDMP Foundation — a nonprofit created to raise money for the database — already has $1.3 million set aside.