Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Prescription drug monitoring program faces more months of delay

A much-touted monitoring program aimed at fighting a prescription drug epidemic that kills seven people a day in Florida has been delayed yet again by an Ohio company that wants to run the operation.

Created by a law passed in 2009, the plan to require pharmacists and physicians to tell the state when they dispense certain drugs should have started last month.

Now it's expected to open for business in late spring or summer — at the soonest.

Florida, one of the few states without such a program, has become a haven for those seeking large quantities of prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax.

A database that keeps drug shoppers from filling prescriptions at multiple outlets would be "the most effective tool Florida has to fight prescription drug diversion and abuse," said Bruce Grant, director of the Governor's Office of Drug Control, on Monday. It was his last day in the post — incoming governor Rick Scott has eliminated the office.

"Certainly, it is disappointing to see the delays," Grant said.

The latest bid protest was lodged last week — the same week that a Tampa police investigation revealed that a single pain clinic doctor prescribed more than 1 million oxycodone pills over a three-month period at one clinic.

But the delays began in September, when Ohio-based Optimum Technology Inc. filed its first protest over the state contract. The company had received the second-highest score out of six companies submitting bids; the highest score went to Health Information Design Inc., based in Alabama, which runs monitoring programs in 10 other states.

Grant said Optimum claimed that the request for proposal from the state wasn't clear, and the state Department of Health agreed. So before the protest was heard by an administrative law judge, the health department decided to reject all bids and start the process over.

But last week, Optimum finished second again to Health Information Design, and the company quickly filed another protest. State officials would not discuss specifics of the protest.

Messages left for Optimum Technology officials were not returned Monday.

Grant expects the bid protest to be heard by an administrative law judge within 30 days. Once the judge has ruled, another protest cannot be filed, he said.

Health Information Design Inc. would not comment on the latest bid protest, but spokeswoman Susan Fillippeli says it remains interested in setting up Florida's plan.

State Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, who sponsored the bill creating the program, said Monday that while Optimum Technology is allowed due process, "their objections continue to hold up a very needed and necessary monitoring system that could save lives."

Richard Martin can be reached at rmartin@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8330.

Prescription drug monitoring program faces more months of delay 01/03/11 [Last modified: Monday, January 3, 2011 9:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of Virginia special agent

    Crime

    RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia State Police special agent died Saturday after being shot by a man sitting in a car in Richmond, police said. The shooting suspect fled on foot, sparking an overnight manhunt that ended with the man's arrest about an hour after the agent's death.

    This image provided by the Virginia State Police shows law enforcement investigating the scene of a shooting early Saturday in Richmond, Va.   Special Agent Michael T. Walter, a Virginia State Police special agent died Saturday after being shot by a man sitting in a car in Richmond, police said. The shooting suspect fled on foot, sparking an overnight manhunt that ended with the man's arrest about an hour after the agent's death. Virginia State Police said in an emailed statement that Travis A. Ball of Richmond is being held without bond on charges that include malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. (Virginia State Police via AP)
  2. Mayor Rick Kriseman says St. Petersburg mayoral election is about going forward, not back

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally
  3. Forecast: Lots of sunshine, low humidity to start Memorial Day weekend

    Weather

    The start of your long Memorial Day weekend is all sunshine this Saturday, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Rick Kearbey.

    WTSP seven-day forecast on May 27, 2017.
  4. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 12:45: Cash said Robertson was taking better swings Friday and so he wanted to move him up today, liking the idea of having three straight right-handers vs. a LHP they don't know much about. ... Souza was still smiling this morning about his failed dive attempt last night, and the reaction it got. .. The …

  5. Global computer outage grounds British flights

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday as a global IT failure caused severe disruption for travelers on a busy holiday weekend.

    British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Airport in January. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)