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In historic vote, Missouri Senate passes statewide PDMP legislation

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After years of efforts to pass legislation creating a statewide prescription drug monitoring program to address Missouri’s opioid crisis, the Missouri Senate passed House Bill 1693 on March 12 — an important step forward for the safety and health of communities and businesses across the state.

Until now, Missouri has been the only state in the nation that lacked a statewide prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), which allows medical professionals to view what prescriptions their patients have been taking before they prescribe. Having access to this information empowers doctors to detect drug abuse early and provide appropriate care for patients with or at risk of addiction.

House Bill 1693 is sponsored by Rep. Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) and handled in the Senate by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer (R-Parkville). Both are 2019 Missouri Chamber Business Champions.

The Missouri Chamber has been a leading advocate for PDMP legislation for years.

“This statewide PDMP will serve as a critical tool physicians and pharmacists need to identify patients who pill shop,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber President and CEO. “This will not only help prevent deaths and address the trends of addiction in our state, it will also help lower costs associated with prescription drug abuse for employers. We thank the Senate for passing House Bill 1693 and applaud Rep. Holly Rehder and Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer for their leadership on this critical issue.”

As the bill was debated on the floor this week before its passage, supporters and opponents reached a compromise to create a task force composed of licensed medical professionals to oversee the data. This helped to alleviate opponents’ concerns about patients’ privacy.

The bill restricts law enforcement’s access to the data and forbids it from being used for non-HIPAA purposes, such as firearm purchase screenings or licensing board decisions.

A county-by-county PDMP program, led by St. Louis County, currently covers about 85 percent of Missourians. This statewide legislation would fill gaps in areas not covered by the current PDMP effort and provides further privacy protections that the county program does not.

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