Senate Panel Passes Series of Bills To Help Curb Rx Drug Misuse
On Monday, a California Senate committee approved a package of bills aimed at helping curb prescription misuse and overdose deaths in the state, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Panel Passes Bill To Upgrade CURES
The Senate Business and Professions Committee voted 7-2 to pass a bill (SB 809) -- by Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) -- that would upgrade the state's prescription drug monitoring program, known as the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (Girion/Glover, Los Angeles Times, 4/15).
CURES tracks patients' prescription drug history in an effort to curb illegal sales and misuse of prescription medication. Funding for the system has decreased in recent years because of state budget cuts (California Healthline, 3/12).
Under SB 809, state health providers would pay a 1.2% premium on their annual licensing fees, which would provide a total of $9 million annually to upgrade and maintain CURES.
The licensing fee premiums would be:
- $2 for pharmacists and registered nurse practitioners;
- $9 for physicians; and
- $10 for podiatrists.
The bill also would require that all physicians and pharmacies use CURES. Currently, less than 7% of individuals licensed to prescribe or dispense prescription painkillers are enrolled in the program (Thompson, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/15).
Other Bills Passed by Committee
The Senate panel also passed:
- A bill (SB 62),Â by Sen. Curren Price (D-Los Angeles), that would require coroners to report any prescription drug-related deaths to the Medical Board of California;
- A bill (SB 670),Â by Steinberg, that would ease state medical board efforts to investigate doctors suspected of overprescribing and to suspend their prescribing authority; and
- A bill (SB 445),Â by Price, that would prohibit pharmacies from advertising commonly misused prescription drugs (Los Angeles Times, 4/15).