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Missouri Senate Approves Statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

Express Scripts and Medco Health Services say their merger will help control prescription drug costs. But many prescriptions may only be available by mail, which may not sit well with some consumers.
Sean Locke
The Missouri Senate approved a statewide prescription drug monitoring program on Tuesday.

The Missouri Senate on Tuesday passed legislation to create a statewide prescription drug monitoring program in an effort to stop opioid abuse.

The measure now heads to the House. It has been sponsored by Sen. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, for years, but has repeatedly been held up by members of the Conservative Caucus in the Senate.

“PDMP is a tool for medical professionals,” Rehder said during preliminary approval of the legislation last week. “It’s used for the same reasons as other electronic medical records: patient safety, medical prescribing practices and overall allowing the medical professional to understand their patients’ history.”

The electronic database, which would only be accessible to patients and health professionals, has raised privacy concerns among some legislators.

Missouri is the only state in the nation that does not have a statewide PDMP, but Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, said that’s a good thing because the 49 other states “have failed.”

“This is an absolute infringement on our people’s rights,” Brattin said. “Regardless, like I’ve said, how you feel about this issue, we realize what it is we’re dealing with. But this is not the way to go about it.”

Rehder said the legislation was crafted in a way to ensure the privacy of patients. It prohibits the database from being used during any criminal investigations or by an outside agency that may prohibit Missourians from owning firearms.

“This is the exact same thing as an electronic medical record,” Rehder said. “This is just the prescription information.”

St. Louis County has its own version of a PDMP, which a majority of counties have opted into.

The legislation previously passed the Senate last year, which has been the major hurdle in the past, but was derailed when the coronavirus disrupted the session.

Jaclyn is the Jefferson City statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.