Friday, April 15, 2011

Fla. governor changes mind, backs prescription-tracking system aimed at 'pill pipeline'

In February we reported Florida Gov. Rick Scott had angered Appalachian lawmakers with plans to scuttle a program that would monitor painkiller prescriptions in an effort to curb the pill pipeline from his state to the region, but now he has changed his mind. Scott said Thursday he will allow the monitoring program.

"It is no secret Florida's pill mills have been ground zero for the illicit diversion of the drugs that are wreaking havoc in Kentucky and around the country, and I'm glad Governor Scott has finally seen the light," said U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky, a fellow Republican, as reported by Halimah Abdullah and Lesley Clark of McClatchy Newspapers.

Scott told a House subcommittee that private companies other than pharmaceuticals will fund the program for two years. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, who also testified before the panel, said he was "very excited and pleased" that Florida was moving ahead with the program. "Let me be frank. Our people in Kentucky are dying," Beshear said. "Eighty-two people a month. More people in Kentucky die from overdoses than car wrecks." Scott said he was still concerned about privacy concerns associated with the monitoring system, but Beshear noted Kentucky's tracking system  has never had a security breach in its 10-year history. (Read more)

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