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Doctors Could Face Drug Database Requirement For Prescriptions

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(Credit: Thinkstock)

(Credit: Thinkstock)

Legislative Session Coverage

MIAMI (CBSMiami/NSF) —  A proposal backed by the House committee on Thursday would require physicians to access a state drug database before prescribing controlled substances to new patients.

The proposal, added to an omnibus health-care bill (HB 7113) drew objections from the Florida Medical Association and other physicians’ groups.

The prescription-drug database is designed to prevent doctor shopping by drug abusers and traffickers.

The requirement added to the bill Thursday would apply to patients’ initial visits to doctors.

In such circumstances, doctors would be required to use the database to check those patients’ medication histories before prescribing controlled substances.

FMA General Counsel Jeff Scott said there are times when physicians don’t need to check the database.

As an example, he said orthopedic surgeons might prescribe limited amounts of controlled substances to patients after surgical procedures.

“We don’t need another regulation, another ground for discipline,” Scott said.

The amendment, which was approved by the House Health & Human Services Committee, also addresses funding and other issues that have long surrounded the database.

It would earmark $500,000 during the upcoming 2014-15 fiscal year to the state Department of Health to administer the prescription-drug monitoring program.

The committee voted 15-2 to approve the overall bill, after the database amendment was added.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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