by: Emily Manley, Ozarks First
Missouri will no longer be the only state in the country without a statewide prescription drug monitoring program.
The program, known as PDMP, would allow physicians and pharmacists to track Missourians’ prescriptions. The goal of the PDMP is to prevent overdoses and opioid addictions.
Gov. Mike Parson signed the bipartisan Senate Bill 63 Monday, establishing a “Joint Oversight Task Force of Prescription Drug Monitoring” within the Office of Administration. The task force will be made up of licensed healthcare professionals that would oversee the database.
“Across the state of Missouri, this is just another tool that we’ll be able to use to help us fight when it comes to opioid, when it comes to the law enforcement community, when it comes to the medical community of how we do it better,” Parson said. “When I was sheriff, dealing with this where people were shopping drugs and going from one pharmacy to the other or one medical professional to another and not having communications or dialog to be able to do this.”
Currently, more than 80% of the state uses St. Louis County’s PDMP program, which is through a third-party vendor and would be phased out over time once the state’s program is in place.
SB 63 is sponsored by Sen. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, who has been working to pass the legislation for almost a decade. The law will not allow information in the database to be used to prevent someone from owning a firearm or be used in a search warrant.
“All that it is a tool for our medical professionals to see what their patients’ medication history is and that prevents difficult combinations that shouldn’t be given together, it prevents a lot of mistakes,” Rehder said.
The sponsor over in the House, Rep. Travis Smith, R-Dora, serves on the Ozarks Healthcare Board in southern Missouri and has heard from many medical professionals about how important this program is.
“Every doctor, every pharmacist I talked to said this is very important,” Smith said.
Starting Aug. 28th, when the bill goes into effect, the vendor can only keep a person’s information for up to three years. It would be up to the physician or pharmacist to enter a patient’s information into the database within 24 hours of prescribing medication.
Members of the General Assembly who voted against the bill said PDMP is an invasion of privacy.
Also during the bill signing, the governor was asked about the multiple special session request from lawmakers. Gov. Parson said so far since legislators adjourned last month, there have been more than 13 requests for the General Assembly to come back to the Capitol, for things like election law changes and local governments “defunding” the state’s two largest police departments.
“Most of the items we’re talking about have already been discussed in the legislative session but just didn’t get across the finish line, Parson said. “Whether there’s an agreement on some of the hot button issues, you know we just can’t move forward on that and it’s not as simple as just coming to a special session.”