The Florida Senate passed a pill mill bill today, but not without some hurdles. Though they are both in agreement that Florida has a troubling prescription drug overdose problem, state Rep. Rob Schenck, R-Spring Hill, and Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, have long been at odds over how to implement a database that would track prescription drugs in the state.

The House sent over its version of a pill mill bill, which included a cap on the dosage of “highly addictive” medications, and stipulated that only pharmacies owned  by publicly traded companies or those with more than $100 million of taxable assets in Florida (and those that have been continuously permitted for 10 years) could dispense medications. Many believed the stipulation could harm smaller, family-run pharmacies.

According to Greg Giordano, Fasano’s chief legislative aide, the Senate and House were initially unable to make a compromise. “We tried to see if we could work on some issues, and the House wasn’t willing to accept many of the things that we wanted,” says Giordano. “So Fasano filed a strike-all amendment to the bill. Over the last 24 hours or so, the attorney general got very involved in negotiations between both sides. Today, we filed and passed a version of the bill which was a great improvement over what had been previously offered.”

The 5,000-unit dosage cap has been removed from the bill, and the portion that would impact small pharmacies would be pushed back till July 1 of next year, which will give mom ‘n’ pops an entire year to comply with the new permitting process.

The bill is now in the House and, if passed, will next move to the governor’s office for final consideration.

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