Medical regulators propose penalties for not checking drug database


Doctors and physician assistants could start facing fines and license revocations for not checking a state prescription drug database before they write a script.

The state’s Board of Medicine last week also announced a related rule “to change penalties for prescribing medicinal drugs or controlled substances (that) demonstrates a lack of reasonable skill or safety to patients.”

Florida recently passed a new law addressed at attacking the ongoing opioid crisis by thwarting “doctor shopping,” or patients seeking prescriptions for addictive drugs from multiple physicians.

And a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) working paper out this month noted that prescription drug monitoring programs that require their use “have been found to be effective in reducing opioid misuse and other related health outcomes.”

The state’s proposed rule says “failure to consult the Prescription Drug Monitoring System” could result in punishment “from a letter of concern to a reprimand and an administrative fine of $1,000 to $2,500” for a licensed physician.

For continued offenses, they face “from a reprimand to revocation (of their licenses) and an administrative fine of $2,500 to $10,000,” it says.

And those who demonstrate “a lack of reasonable skill or safety to patients” in prescribing medicine, according to the board’s determination, could face up to a $10,000 administrative fine and revocation of their licenses, another proposed rule says.

In Florida, physician assistants can prescribe certain drugs if they’ve been delegated that responsibility by a supervising physician.

For them, failure to check the Prescription Drug Monitoring System would be a $100 fine for a first offense, $150 for a second, and $200 for a third-time citation, the proposal says.

A new law limits opioid prescriptions for acute pain to a three-day supply, and, when deemed medically necessary, a seven-day supply. Certain patients, such as those suffering cancer and other forms of chronic pain or those in hospice, are not affected by the new prescription limits.

If a doctor or physician assistant asks for a hearing on the proposed regulations in the next three weeks, one will be set, the board said.

State officials last week said more than 92,000 health-care providers had registered to use the database, which tracks patients who are prescribed controlled substances. The August total is more than double the number of providers who were registered to use the system the previous year.


Tallahassee correspondent Danny McAuliffe contributed to this post. Background provided by The News Service of Florida, republished with permission.

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected].


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