Florida Governor Reverses on Prescription Tracking Program

by Gabe Bullard on April 14, 2011

Florida Governor Rick Scott says he will support a compromise to implement a prescription pill tracking system in his state.

Scott originally sought to block a prescription database from being used, citing privacy concerns. The system is meant to stop illegal prescription sales. Because Floridian pill mills are a major supplier of prescription drugs abused in Kentucky and elsewhere, Scott came under fire from numerous state and federal officials to let the program take effect. Instead, Scott proposed using a grant from the federal government to create a law enforcement task force to fight the prescription problem.

Scott and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear were called before Congress to discuss prescription abuse earlier today. Kentucky Public Radio’s Brenna Angel filed this report:

Florida Governor Rick Scott and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear sat side-by-side before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. They both agree prescription drug abuse is an epidemic. But Governor Scott isn’t sold on the effectiveness of statewide databases that monitor the flow of painkillers. His main concern is privacy.

“When hackers broke into Virginia’s prescription drug database, they obtained more than 8.2 million patient records and a total of nearly 36 million prescriptions. In Florida, I continue working with my legislative partners to find solutions that protect patient privacy.”

Governor Beshear says Kentucky’s database, known as KASPER, has a successful track record.

“You know there is slight risk, whether it’s e-health records or whatever, that some breach can occur. But when you’re looking at 82 Kentuckians a month dying, when you’re looking at about 7 Floridians a day dying because of drug overdoses of legal prescription drugs, that’s a pretty easy answer for me.”

Beshear has been urging Scott to implement a database for several weeks. And After months of legal holdup, it appears Florida is moving forward with its system. Scott says he also wants to tackle the pill mill problem through law enforcement and cracking down on distribution.

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