Once Again, MO Lawmakers Are at Loggerheads Over Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

By on February 8, 2019

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  Against the familiar backdrop of ongoing dissent in the Senate, the Missouri House gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a long-sought statewide prescription drug monitoring program.

Marking the seventh time that the House had debated the creation of a system designed to track painkiller abuse, Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, urged her colleagues to support the proposal, saying it will save lives.

“Addiction is a disease. For many people, we can take an opioid for one or two days and become addicted,” said Rehder, who is sponsoring the House version of the legislation.

Her proposal, which received preliminary approval in the House on a 110-43 vote, would create an online database that physicians and pharmacist can use to track how many pills a patient buys and which pharmacies they visit.

Programs in other states aim to prevent doctor-shopping — the practice of visiting multiple providers to fill prescriptions for drugs intended for illegal sale or use.

Missouri is the only state in the nation without a PDMP.

For years, the House has endorsed the idea only to see it run aground in the Senate, primarily because of opposition from then-Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph.

With Schaaf no longer in the chamber because of term limits, PDMP supporters are hopeful the measure will make it to Gov. Mike Parson’s deskbefore the end of the legislative session in May.

But on Wednesday, the Senate version of a PDMP program failed to win enough votes to make it to the full chamber for a vote.

The measure now sits in limbo in a Senate committee pending further negotiations.

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