|May 6, 2011
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Attorney General Pam Bondi praised the Florida Legislature for passing legislation that will help eradicate Florida’s deadly pill mills, an issue that has been Attorney General Bondi’s top priority since taking office. Florida is the epicenter for pill mills in the nation, and prescription drug overdoses cost at least seven Floridians’ lives per day. Drug dealers and addicts from other states have flocked to Florida to take prescription drugs home with them because of Florida’s lax regulations. This bill received bi-partisan support and unanimously passed both the Florida Senate and the Florida House today. The bill will now go to the Governor Scott, who fully supports ridding Florida of pill mills.
“Fighting pill mills has been my top legislative priority, and today the Florida Legislature has given law enforcement and regulators the tools they need to crack down on pills and protect Floridians. Due to their hard work, lives will be saved,” said Attorney General Bondi. “Unscrupulous doctors and pill mill operators need to be prepared to move out of our great state.”
This legislation will:
· Create tough new administrative and criminal penalties for doctors who over prescribe narcotics and violate standards of care.
· Keep in place regulations and standards of care for pain management clinics that were passed in last year’s SB 2272.
· Protect the PDMP and strengthen it by requiring data to be submitted within 7 days, instead of the current 15.
· Provide an additional security measure by requiring the PDMP manager and PDMP support staff who have access to the database to undergo criminal background checks/fingerprinting.
· Target dispensing of the most abused narcotics through a physician dispensing ban (exception for surgical procedures 14 day-supply; approved clinical trials; methadone clinics; and hospice; third-degree felony to dispense.
· Require practitioners who prescribe controlled substances to register with the Department of Health and to comply with specific standards of care.
· Require pharmacies to be re-permitted by July 2012 in order to dispense Scheduled II and III narcotics.
· Require wholesale drug distributors to credential customers purchasing controlled substances and requires reports of distributions of controlled substances. (Requires DOH to conduct annual Level 2 background checks on pharmacy owners/those with controlling interests, rather than every two years)
· Create a mandatory buy-back program for physicians to transfer controlled substance inventory back to distributors by a date certain.
"Public safety is a fundamental function of government, and the Florida House of Representatives is committed to developing policies necessary to protect Floridians. We were proud to join Governor Scott, General Bondi and our colleagues in the Senate to develop a comprehensive solution to fighting prescription drug abuse in Florida,” stated House of Representatives Speaker Dean Cannon.
"I believe that this legislation will provide Florida with the necessary protections and enforcement to continue fighting the pill mill crisis. With Florida being the prescription drug dealer for the nation, these tough criminal and administrative penalties will help us stop pill mills and unscrupulous doctors," stated Senator Mike Fasano, sponsor of Senate Bill
"With the implementation of this comprehensive, meaningful legislation to combat prescription drug abuse in our state, we will have effectively stopped bad acting doctors from dispensing medically unbelievable amounts of controlled substances to addicts and children alike and signaled to the pill mill industry that Florida is closed for business," said Representative Robert Schenck, sponsor of House Bill 7095. "And I am proud, to have been a part of this effort to provide law enforcement with the means to quickly and aggressively stop these criminals masquerading as legitimate doctors."