Senate Bill 818, Mike Fasano’s so-called “pill mill bill,” passed the Senate Criminal Justice Committee this morning with a unanimous vote.

In the bill (.pdf), Fasano, R- New Port Richey, proposes harsher restrictions for those operating pill mills in Florida. The measure would also maintain a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database in the state, a program implemented by then-gov. Charlie Crist. The database would track prescription drugs, in an effort to thwart doctor-shoppers and pill mills and reduce the large number of drug overdoses in the state.

But just as 818 advances through the Senate, two bills that aim to repeal the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (and take privileges away from doctors) are advancing in the House. Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Dean Cannon have both spoken out against the Drug Monitoring Database, arguing that it would lead to privacy concerns and cost the state too much money. Supporters of the database, like Fasano, have long argued that there are already enough funds placed aside to run the program for at least two years.

Attorney General Pam Bondi, a vocal advocate of  a state drug-monitoring database, spoke in favor of the bill in this morning’s committee meeting.

Fasano’s bill will next go to its final stop, the Budget Committee.

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