Angry Mike Fasano tables prescription drug bill

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Saying that an amendment would weaken his proposal, a visibly angry Representative Mike Fasano pulled back a bill Thursday that would require greater use of a state prescription-drug database, reports the News Service of Florida.

Fasano made the move after members of the House Health & Human Services Committee voted 10-7 to approve an amendment by Rep. Ronald “Doc” Renuart, a Ponte Vedra Beach Republican who wanted to limit the scope of Fasano’s bill (HB 831). Fasano wants to require physicians to consult the database before prescribing controlled substances — an effort to stop “doctor shopping” for prescriptions by people who abuse drugs such as painkillers. Renuart said his amendment would narrow the requirement to consulting the database in cases where doctors are writing prescriptions for narcotics used to treat chronic, non-malignant pain.

Renuart, a physician, described the amendment as “common sense.” Fasano temporarily postponed consideration of the bill, which is a procedural move that short-circuited a vote. He pointed to some doctors who do not want to use the database, which began operating in 2011. “I cannot allow a piece of legislation to move forward that’s weakening what we have done over the couple of years,” Fasano said.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.