A bill that would monitor patients who “doctor shop,” or visit different doctors to obtain several prescriptions, commonly opiod painkillers, has come to a pause in the Missouri House this week. This prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) would create a database where physicans and pharmacists could input and access information about patients, making them aware of those who are doctor shopping. Missouri is the only state in which a PDMP is not already in place.
HB 1892, sponsored by Rep. Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) was anticipated to be debated this week by the Missouri House, but it was put aside, and when debate will occur is uncertain. The main concern surrounding the bill is the fear that there will be breaches of privacy. This is a concern voiced by several lawmakers including Sen. Robert Schaaf (R-St. Joseph). Schaaf has introduced his own bill, SB 768, which would not allow physicans and pharmacists to see patient medication lists, but would alert them if there is a problem. The sponsor of HB 1892, Rep. Holly Rehder, says the Shaaf approach will not get to the heart of the problem, and will allow abusers to continue to doctor shop. Read more in this News Tribune article.
The MCC supports HB 1892. There is no innate right to prescription drugs, and they should only be given after consultation with a doctor. Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem in Missouri and this bill addresses it. If you have not yet contacted your state representative, click Action Alert to send a pre-composed message.