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Florida’s dispensing legislation clarified

There’s a good bit of confusion out there about the two physician dispensing bills on the table in Florida.
There are two separate issues here that are often conflated in the media.
First are the pill mills
– those storefronts that dispense millions of doses of OxyContin and other narcotics to anyone and everyone who shows up. Florida’s got a well-deserved reputation as the OxyContin supplier to the nation – due almost exclusively to the pill mills.
Second is specific to workers comp – according to NCCI, physicians dispensing drugs to comp claimants added $62 million to employers’ costs last year – with no measurable benefit to claimants, employers, or anyone else but the dispensing physicians, drug repackagers, and dispensing companies.
The House version, which passed yesterday in a near unanimous vote, would ban physician dispensing of Scheduled drugs – mostly narcotics, anti-depressants, and muscle relaxants, but allow continued dispensing of non-Scheduled drugs. This bill now moves to the Senate, where a somewhat different ‘pill mill bill’ (SB 818) is under consideration.
Another Senate bill (attached to the budget resolution) is designed to close the loophole that enables physicians dispensing drugs to work comp claimants to charge prices far above retail pharmacies’. This issue has a far smaller constituency, isn’t really recognized as an issue by anyone but a few employers and comp payers, and many seem to think that the House bill would “fix” the work comp problem.
Both bills are desperately needed.
My bet is the politics are such that we’ll see the pill mills banned and no action to fix the work comp problem.

One thought on “Florida’s dispensing legislation clarified”

  1. Joe,
    We’ve seen the devistation of the Pill Mill’s first hand. We unfortunately had one move into our building last year. Within 3 days, our parking lot was filled with “patients” from Kentucky, Mississippi and other states ready to pick up the “persciptions.” The office was finally shut down, police and all-the traffice remained the same until word spread-moving “patients” to yet another location.
    The loopholes need to be closed in both cases. My life wasnt ruined, but you can be sure that many other were and will be if something isn’t done.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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