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Missouri House bill seeks prescription drug monitoring

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The Missouri House of Representatives has passed a bill to enact a statewide prescription drug monitoring program.

H.B. 130, introduced by Missouri Rep. Holly Rehder, a Republican, passed the state House on Thursday 107-48. The bill would require the state Department of Health & Senior Services to establish and maintain a prescription drug monitoring program in Missouri, the only state without a program in place.

According to the bill, the program would monitor the prescribing and dispensing of Schedule II-IV controlled substances under the federal Controlled Substances Act by all prescribers and dispensers in the state. The Department of Health & Senior Services could provide data to in- and out-of-state prescribers, the state board of pharmacy, and law enforcement officials, among other entities.

Prescription drug monitoring programs “are credited with improving clinical decision-making and patient care while also reducing inappropriate prescribing, especially with concern to state workers compensation systems,” the American Insurance Association said in a statement supporting the Missouri legislation earlier this month.

Privacy concerns

However, opponents of the bill, including Missouri Sen. Rob Schaaf, a Republican, argue that H.B. 130 raises privacy concerns. Sen. Schaaf’s S.B. 111 would also create a prescription drug monitoring program that “no dispenser shall have access to … but shall only transmit information to be included into it.”

Sen. Schaaf, who is also a physician, has filibustered attempts to enact a prescription drug monitoring program in the past, according to media reports.

Neither bill would require health care providers to obtain information about patients from the database before prescribing drugs. In states like New York and Tennessee, providers are required to check such databases before prescribing opioids.

Pennsylvania is currently the only other state without a prescription drug monitoring program that health care providers can access. Its database is only available to the state’s attorney general and law enforcement officials.

However, to improve outcomes for injured workers, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed S.B. 1180 into law in October. The law expands the list of drugs tracked under Pennsylvania’s monitoring program to include all controlled substances under the federal Controlled Substances Act and makes the database available to all health care providers and pharmacists.

However, there’s not enough money in the state budget to cover two-thirds of the $1 million project that was set to launch in June, Republican state Sen. Pat Vance, who sponsored the bill, said during a news conference last week.