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Florida's governor urged not to nix Rx monitoring program
February 22nd, 2011
NEW YORK – A group of congressmen have called on Florida's governor not to scrap plans for a prescription drug monitoring program, citing the prevalence of illegal trafficking of prescription narcotics from the state.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.), Bill Nelson (D., Fla.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) on Sunday sent a joint letter to Florida Gov. Rick Scott asking him to reconsider his omission of the drug monitoring program from his proposed budget. Signed into law by Scott's predecessor, Charles Crist, the program was slated to go into effect this summer.
Rep. Hal Rogers (R., Ky.) and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear also reportedly have sent letters to Scott urging him to rethink his decision to repeal the monitoring program.
According to Schumer, law enforcement officials dub Florida as "the Flamingo Express" because of the flood of illicit prescription narcotics coming out of the state, published reports said.
Manchin reported on his web site that some experts estimate that South Florida may be responsible for nearly half of the illegal distribution of prescription painkillers in the United States. And in his letter to Scott, Rogers said that in 2009, 98 of the top 100 prescribers of oxycodone were from Florida and dispensed more than 19 million doses of the drug, or about 89% of the total dispensed by the nation's top prescribers.
Under Florida's planned prescription drug tracking program, physicians would be able to review a list of their recent prescriptions for controlled substances when individuals attempt to "doctor shop," or obtain prescriptions for narcotics from various doctors and then fill them at different pharmacies.
Published reports said Florida's program already had funding in place and that similar programs have been operational in 34 other states, with seven more states having enacted legislation to implement them.