A Missouri Senate committee has given approval to the creation of a database designed to crackdown on potential abuse of addictive painkillers. GOP Representative Holly Rehder of southeast Missouri’s Scott City, who’s sponsoring the bill, says St. Louis County’s prescription drug monitoring program covers at least 87% of Missouri.

Representative Holly Rehder, R, Scott City (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

“Missouri has a PDMP,” says Rehder. “It’s whether we want one that’s going to have the protections that this bill has in it that the St. Louis County program does not. This bill has Fourth Amendment protections. It has Second Amendment protections and it makes it a crime for any unauthorized use.”

During a public hearing, John Lilly, a family physician in southwest Missouri’s Springfield, tells Sen. Karla May, D-St. Louis, such programs are unconstitutional.

“It is a mandatory, involuntary database. Your insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid – they all have databases. When you sign up for that, you sign up for their database. I take a prescription to the pharmacy, I didn’t ask to be in a database,” says Lilly.

“But we’re all in databases. You’re in your doctor’s database. You have an illusion of privacy in 2020,” says May.
Lilly goes on to say Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows painkiller overdose deaths have not declined, even though the rest of the country has a prescription drug monitoring program.

May says people are going to get around the system.

“They know that the systems don’t talk and that they’ll be able to get to the different doctors and the different networks,” she says. “When you’ve got a PPO, you don’t have to have a referral from your doctor to go anywhere and you tell your doctor what you want them to know.”

Lilly does not agree.

“On my EMR, I have a little button that says ‘Care Everywhere’. I can click on that – I get all kinds of information from other systems,” he says. “So, it’s not true that you can’t get it from other systems. There are ways to check on chronic opioid users other than a PDMP by using urine and drug screens and pill count visits.”

Senate President Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, has vowed to work every year until the Legislature passes the bill. Schatz has three years left in the Legislature.

House Bill 1693 heads to the Senate floor.

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