A state senator from northwest Missouri ended his opposition Tuesday to State Rep. Holly Rehder’s (R-Sikeston) prescription drug monitoring program bill, citing a “groundswell” of support for the Sikeston Republican’s legislation.
In a decision that stunned other lawmakers, veteran State Sen. Dr. Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph) announced he’s ending his opposition to Rehder’s PDMP bill.
A PDMP is an electronic database that collects data on controlled substance prescriptions within a state.
Schaaf tells the Capitol Press Corps he wants Rehder to include a requirement that the database be used.
“It include a provision that it will be the standard of care to actually use it before prescribing a controlled substance,” says Schaaf.
Missouri is the only state in the nation without a PDMP.
Schaaf, who has filibustered Rehder’s bill in previous years, says there’s strong support for Rehder’s bill.
“Provider groups, law enforcement groups, House and Senate leadership and even the governor (Republican Eric Greitens) have said that they want Representative Rehder’s version of the PDMP,” Schaaf says.
The Missouri House gave final approval to Rehder’s bill this week by a bipartisan 102-54 vote. Rehder’s bill had solid backing from Democrats, who have 46 seats.
Rehder tells the Capitol Press Corps that he is “speechless”, after Schaaf’s announcement.
While Schaaf says Rehder “deserves to have her version become the law”, he’s asking the Sikeston Republican to include a requirement that the database be used. Rehder says she supports that concept, but wants to see details from ten other states with that requirement.
“It is very true that the states have much better outcomes when the physicians use the program, have been required to use the program,” says Rehder. “So of course, the devil’s in the details.”
Rehder’s bill will be heard Thursday morning in the Missouri Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee.
The Missouri Hospital Association, Missouri Pharmacy Association, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Missouri Grocers Association and the Missouri State Troopers Association were among those who testified this year for the Rehder bill.
Schaaf says he tried to compromise for years on PDMP, adding that he offered to place the issue on the statewide ballot five years ago.
Rehder says the bill is needed, and that prescription drug abuse is one of the fastest-growing epidemics in the nation.
During her House floor comments last week, Rehder noted that 6,000 children were removed from substance abuse homes in Missouri last year. She also noted that emergency room visits for opioids by Missouri Medicaid patients increased more than 400 percent last year.
Click here to listen to the full press conference, which includes comments from Sen. Schaaf and Rep. Rehder. It is about ten minutes: