GOP senator says he’ll support bipartisan-backed bill creating prescription drug monitoring program

In an unexpected move, state Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, said Tuesday night that he now backs the House version of a prescription drug monitoring program, putting Missouri on track to become the last state in the nation to establish such a program.

Schaaf, who had opposed the House bill due to privacy concerns, said at a news conference that he changed his mind due to overwhelming support from medical professionals and from Gov. Eric Greitens.

His only request is that language be added that requires doctors to use the monitoring program, saying, “especially since the people of Missouri are giving up a measure of their privacy by having their private medical information put on a government database.”

The House version, HB 90/68 that’s sponsored by Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, passed Monday night 102-54 with bipartisan support. It would allow doctors to access patients’ prescription records online to make sure they’re not getting multiple refills from various pharmacies, a practice known as doctor-shopping.

“I’m speechless,” Rehder said after Schaaf’s announcement. “We didn’t realize this was coming.”

Rehder has said a monitoring program is crucial to fighting the current opiate epidemic.

Read more: St. Louis Public Radio, Kansas City Star

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