It’s getting to be an annual rite, but not of passage. Once again this year, as in past years, the Missouri General Assembly spent days debating how to stop patients from “doctor shopping” for painkillers and other prescription medications to satisfy their drug addiction, but in the end, no bill passed.
State Representative Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) has been the tireless champion for creating a program that would allow doctors and pharmacists to check a state registry to see if a patient was abusing a prescription drug.
This year, Rehder’s bill was HB 90. It passed the House with overwhelming support. The Senate, however, undercut the effectiveness of the drug monitoring program by adding several crippling amendments. One amendment, for example, purged a patient’s drug history after 180 days. In the end the two chambers could not reconcile their differences and the legislation died.
The MCC supported HB 90 as a way to combat doctor shopping. The proposal included provisions to protect confidentiality by barring disclosure of patients’ drug history except to doctors, pharmacists and law enforcement authorities.