Missouri Senate advances prescription drug monitoring program

Missouri Senate advances prescription drug monitoring program

The Missouri Senate brought the state one step closer to a statewide prescription drug monitoring program Thursday.

After nearly a decade of opposition by Missouri Senators, the bill, the Narcotics Control Act, passed after a late-night filibuster earlier this week. Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer (R-Parkville) hand carried the legislation over the finish line, effectively eliminating Missouri’s position as the only state in the country without a statewide system to monitor prescription narcotics.

“This legislation will provide an important tool for medical professionals to identify patients who may be in the grips of an opioid addiction and get them help,” Luetkemeyer said. “I am pleased that the Senate was able to come together to overcome long-standing objections to this important legislation.”

The tracking system will be overseen by a task force made up of physicians and prescribers after an eight-hour fight on the floor of the Senate wrestled the control of the system away from the Department of Health and Senior Services. The bill would also limit access to the database to medical providers while ensuring that it could not be accessed by law enforcement or any other governmental entity. The bill also ensures that the database could not prevent someone from getting a firearms license.

The bill would replace a system operating out of St. Louis County that tracks the information of about 85 percent of the state’s population.

Following more than eight hours of discussion in the Senate chamber, a compromise was reached that moves oversight of the system from the Department of Health and Senior Services to a newly-created task force consisting of private physicians and prescribers. The bill also limits access of the database to medical providers for use in patient treatment.

“Missouri physicians have long coveted a statewide prescription drug monitoring program,” said Jeff Howell, director of government relations for the Missouri State Medical Association. “A PDMP is an important part of delivering clinically sound treatment to patients suffering from addiction and opioid use disorder.”

The measure must go to the House of Representatives for final approval.

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