State Rep. Rob Schenck’s bill that would prevent doctors from prescribing and dispensing pain medication from their offices passed the House Judiciary Committee in an 11-6 vote today, but the amended House Bill 7095 faced harsh criticism in the committee from those who feel the bill punishes mom-and-pop pharmacies.

Originally, the bill aimed to disallow doctors from dispensing medications but would allow all pharmacies to do so. After some raised concerns that doctors could simply open pharmacies to skirt the law, the bill was amended to allow only large pharmacies to dispense.

As it is now written, pharmacies permitted to dispense must be “wholly owned by a corporation whose shares are publicly traded on a recognized stock exchange” or “wholly owned by a corporation having more than $100 million of business taxable assets in this state.”

Only community pharmacies “continuously permitted for at least 10 years” are exempt from those requirements.

During today’s committee hearing, the bill faced harsh criticism. As reported in The Miami Herald, many critics felt the bill would clean up pill mills at a cost to small business:

“This really punishes the mom and pops throughout the entire state,” said Richard Steinberg, D-Miami Beach.

And Lori Weems, general counsel for the Florida Pharmacy Association, said the bill would prevent pharmacies from prescribing non-narcotices, such as Ritalin and drugs to treat epilepsy.  ”This is the first time I can recall community pharmracies being targeted as the cause of this crisis,” she said.

Today marked the last committee stop for the bill.

Schenck, R-Spring Hill, is also sponsoring a bill aimed at eliminating the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

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