Florida Pain Clinics Try to Avoid Regulation by Opening Pharmacies
In an effort to reduce prescription drug addiction, the Florida government has cracked down on pain clinics, banning them from selling narcotic drugs to patients. As of July 1, 2011, clinics are only permitted to write prescriptions for pain medications and cannot fill them. In response, many pain clinic owners have filed applications with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to open pharmacies. The clinics apparently believe they can continue their business of legally supplying addicts with drugs by opening a pharmacy controlled by them under the same roof; basically a one stop shopping center for drug addicts. The doctor sees the patient and writes the prescription. The patient then walks over to the in house pharmacist who hand him the drugs. The patient can then get their fix immediately as they walk out the door.
After securing a pharmacy license from the state of Florida, those who look to open pharmacies must seek federal approval to dispense controlled substances. Fortunately, Federal DEA officials are investigating these applications to try and determine which are valid and which are tied to pill mills.
According to the Palm Beach Post, many of those now applying for federal licenses have no experience in the pharmacy business. Those who have criminal convictions or other violations on their records have filed applications using friends’ names. Applications have been rejected for many reasons, including unusual proposed operating guidelines. Pharmacies that plan to be open from 9-5 on weekdays and those that will only take cash or credit rather than health insurance are more likely to be investigated and rejected.
DEA Assistant Special Agent, John McKenna, said, “we’re not going to stop legitimate businesses. But we are going to try to stop these rogue pharmacies.” Doctors and pharmacists who follow the law have nothing to fear. The new laws are meant to prevent pharmacists who improperly dispense medication.