Purdue offers Florida $1 million to create "pill mill" database

April 5, 2011

While Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, has offered the State of Florida $1 million for a pill mill database, the anticipated cost of sustaining the program may deter Florida Governor Rick Scott and other legislators from accepting the grant.

While Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, has offered the State of Florida $1 million for a “pill mill” database, the anticipated cost of sustaining the program may deter Florida Governor Rick Scott and other legislators from accepting the grant.

The controversial computer system would track all Florida prescriptions for pain pills and controlled substances, so that pharmacists, doctors, and law enforcement officials could watch for actions of both drug dealers and addicts amassing pills from multiple sources. Approximately 34 states already have such a database. Scott estimates that the program would cost Florida approximately $500,000 a year to maintain.

Purdue Pharma is offering the state a $1 million grant that would get the prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) operational and running for 2 years. Purdue also has given a separate $1 million grant to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) to support its program to help state PDMPs detect “doctor shopping” across state lines. NABP’s PMP Interconnect Hub aims to facilitate secure transfer of prescription monitoring program (PMP) information on a national scale.

Purdue executives want to provide the grant to Florida because drug seekers are reportedly traveling to Florida to obtain medication for abuse or illegal sale, according to a statement from Purdue Pharma. While Scott has not rejected Purdue’s funding, he is looking for a more sustainable, long-term PDMP system.

“We understand that the governor of Florida is facing difficult choices and financial constraints that may prevent the State from implementing its prescription-drug monitoring program … At the same time, we believe that a PDMP in Florida can help curb prescription drug abuse in that state and other states as well,” said John H. Stewart, president and CEO of Purdue Pharma. “It is our hope that this effort can be become part of a larger public/ private partnership to address the abuse and diversion of prescription medications.”