First, I’ve edited this piece so that even the most dimwitted readers will get my “thesis,” which would be a “thesis” had I not proven it, as below.

Now, why was a prescription database pushed to the hilt by the media? They claimed it was to stop one of Florida’s tourism industries, unsurprisingly allowed to operate for as long as possible: Oxycontin pill mills that existed because of a loophole in the law.  People from all over the South and elsewhere picked up Oxy in Florida to use or sell elsewhere or in Florida, The Comfortable [email protected] Fine: Let’s solve the problem. But, no, a law was passed that now encompasses every single prescription, addictive or not. The state, not concerned enough to pay for the law, located or, more likely, established a private network of contributors to pay for it. Why? Who paid for the database…and why?

At first, it all seems to be about nothing but power. Unfortunately, it’s all about our old friendly combination of power and money… make that money and power.

And now, the incredible story of how Florida’s state pharmacy database came to be.

On January 1, 2010, Florida finally passed The Common Pharmacy Database statute. Before I continue, let me alert you that the following is a mystery wrapped in a conspiracy concealed in quantum semantics saturated by contradictions watering the evil garden of power beneath a sun radiating shadows hiding the black roses blooming by the thousands in the name of profit shrouded by a single over-riding facade of a purpose. Complicating matters is a flood of red herrings pointing to red herrings, only these red herrings have been dyed to appear in every color but red, creating the void in which utterly-arbitrary medical decisions are made by technicians in lab coats who overrule at will the orders of those not much more qualified than themselves, imposing a tyranny upon the entire population of Florida, all to supposedly address a loophole in the law that allowed “pain clinics” to dispense Oxycontin like psychiatrists dispense antidepressants.

In plain English, after my having textually run amok, let me restate the above in one sentence: The Florida Pharmacy Database was never necessary because legislation could have sealed the pain clinic loophole. You won’t read these facts of why that wasn’t done anywhere but here, though they’re lying naked in the Florida sun on I-75.

The database program’s own webpage admits, “The statute authorizing the PMDP [Prescription Drug Monitoring Program] specifically does not allow the use of state appropriations for establishing the PMDP.” Curiously, the statute instead did “authorize the establishment of a non-profit organization, which was incorporated as The Florida PDMP Foundation, Inc., to conduct fund-raising for the program.” In other words, “This is a crucial issue, but not crucial enough to raise taxes.” So how is it possibly Constitutional for a state law to be passed based on funding by a non-governmental entity? Look, a green herring!

Care to guess the The Florida PDMP Foundation, Inc. mission? Third prize goes to stopping “‘pill mills’ that prescribe and/or dispense pain relievers with at best a cursory exam to people who often see multiple physicians for the same ‘ailment.'” Second prize goes to a supposed concern that “nearly seven Floridians are lost every day to prescription drug overdoses.” First prize goes to the bottom dollar answer: “$15 billion is the estimated economic cost of prescription drug abuse and diversion shouldered by Floridians in 2009.” And just who funds the foundation? Let’s look at the three sponsors thanked on the foundation’s site via their super-sized corporate logos.

First, there’s Automated HealthCare Systems, which connects two dots: “Our ezDispense™ medication dispensing software, powered by AHCS, provides the tools to our physician partners to remain in compliance with all state and federal regulations as well as prescription drug monitoring programs. ezDispense™ electronically tracks all pedigree papers, lot numbers, expiration dates and controlled substances with line item reconciliation. Our software also identifies the location, physician, dispenser, cost, profit and date of all medications dispensed.” Holmes, methinks I’ve determined the AHCS’ motivation.

Next, Millennium Laboratories. Somehow, a red herring escaped extermination by Millennium Laboratories, which entirely profits from a single service: “We offer urine testing for numerous drug classes or individual drugs, with the option of several panels or a customized solution.” In Florida, guess who’s watching you piss in a cup?

Finally, Aegis PainComp Testing Services: That’s “Comp” as in “Compliance.” Know where we’re going with this? You got it: Drug testing. It’s all about the urine, folks.

Apparently, however, there’s just not enough precious bodily fluids to go around. Thus, Aegis is currently suing Millennium for “false advertising and unfair competition.” Additionally, Aegis claims Millenium “lured in physicians with illegal kickbacks and defrauded government health care programs.”

But Aegis may not play so fairly, either: “The company owned by the husband of 6th District Congressional candidate Diane Black is suing Republican opponent Lou Ann Zelenik in an attempt to stop a campaign advertisement. In the lawsuit filed Thursday morning in Davidson County Circuit Court, Aegis Sciences Corporation, a drug testing company owned by Dr. David Black, claims that ads run by the Zelenik campaign will damage the business and its reputation and asks for a temporary restraining order to keep the ads from airing. The ads allege Diane Black helped her husband’s company obtain a $1 million state contract.”

These certainly sound like the respectable backers one would seek for an ostensibly government health care program, don’t they? And it all looks like a job for none other than the Real Keyser Söze.

One page deeper into the site and we learn that the foundation is headquartered at the law firm of Duane Morris LLP, which, amongst other activities, boasts: “Our attorneys regularly advise on Stark and anti-kickback issues and have developed unique ways for physicians to share in ancillary revenue in compliance with federal and state regulations.” Another achievement: “We have defended nursing homes, home health agency and ancillary service provider clients under investigation for Medicaid fraud, advising them on appropriate responses to subpoenas and strategizing to minimize the risk of an adverse outcome.” And the law firm proudly broadcasts its having “Represented three nonprofit community hospitals and resulting ‘community benefit foundations’ in connection with the sale of hospital assets to for-profit hospital chains.”

Interesting use of quotation marks around the phrase “community benefit foundations,” obviously mocking such “liberal” causes. But isn’t that exactly the kind of do-good organization The Florida PDMP Foundation, Inc. claims to be? Let’s return to the foundation’s site and check it out.

At first, it seems the foundation at least wants to feel like it has a message of love: “The Foundation consists of both community and business leaders working to save lives through fundraising for the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PMDP) to combat the deadly consequences of drug abuse and diversion.” But without so much as a yawn, this follows, “The Foundation is comprised of a state county sheriff, a President of a Florida-based health care company, an officer of a bank located in Florida, a former director of the Office of Drug Control, the CEO of a company that conducts educational training and an attorney focused on assisting this non-profit. That attorney would be Duane Morris, who, as we’ve seen, normally doesn’t look so kindly upon non-profit organizations. In fact, his motto seems to be, “For the right hourly billing rate, I’ll decapitate Jesus Christ and prove my actions legal, then counter-sue the estate of Jesus Christ.”

As proof, the Duane Morris Institute offers businesses on-site training in a number of areas, one of which includes…”Substance Abuse: Detection and referral; work rules; development of drug and alcohol testing policies; return-to-work agreements ” Relevance? Duane Morris seems awfully involved with drug testing companies, just awfully. For instance, he represented “a drug testing company and its employee, in administering a drug test that found cocaine in plaintiff’s urine and resulted in the revocation of plaintiff’s taxicab operator’s license.” Guess who won, the cabbie or a law firm with enough attorneys to prove the Complete Works of William Shakespeare unconstitutional?

Duane Morris LLP, which specializes in defending the most ruthless business practices conceivable and seems to have a fetish for drug testing, heads the The Florida PDMP Foundation, Inc., funded by drug testing companies, which in turn funded the Florida Pharmacy Database, and without which funding even Republicans would never have passed the legislation. Obviously, through a law conjured to supposedly address Oxycontin pill mills, but which instead is being applied to every single prescribed medication in Florida, the real intention of the database is to shove innocent citizens, including those addicted by proxy due to emotional and/or health issues, into the criminal “justice” system or the rehabilitation racket, both of which will provide plenty of business for drug testing companies. And we know which three drug testing companies will be getting most of that business, don’t we?

Sooner or later, you’ll need a prescription in your state, one without the slightest addictive qualities, and you’ll be denied that prescription for whatever reason the pharmacist may decide. For instance, I recently had to obtain a week’s supply of a newly-prescribed antidepressant, as I couldn’t afford the entire month’s worth. That was standard practice in the old days. But I was told I could not even fill less than the amount prescribed. Why? Because the database gives pharmacies unspecified powers, and pharmacists, believing themselves equipped to do something beyond sliding pills into bottles, love power no less than anybody else with a badge, uniform, degree, or, in this case, lab coat.

Here’s an analogy explaining the supposed logic behind the law: You’re being denied the right to drive — even if you lack a single DUI —  because a certain number of Florida citizens die in car accidents. But by the real “logic” of the law, you’re being pulled over and stopped for speeding whether or not you were speeding or even driving because someone supported a law through a foundation funded by manufacturers of police radar equipment.

Now, if that doesn’t make you piss your pants, read my new 9/11 novel, Airplane Novel, which you can order here. More info at the Airplane Novel website. It’s the only 9/11 novel narrated by the South Tower. In fact, it’s the only 9/11 novel worth reading at all. Just don’t forget to get your Xanax filled before reading this novel aboard a plane.

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PAUL A. TOTH's Airplane Novel, already a Midwest Book Review Reviewer's Choice and the 9/11 novel, is available now. His other novels include Finale, Fishnet and Fizz. Click here to visit his sites.

18 responses to “The War Against Urine: A Florida Case Study of State Pharmacy Databases”

  1. Jeffro says:

    I don’t buy that having a prescription drug database is a bad thing. Being able to flag–in real time–potentially fatal drug interactions and possible abusers is a very important step in delivering proper health care.

  2. Paul A. Toth says:

    That’s why it should be implemented to accomplish that purpose, not to profit drug testing companies. And it has nothing to do with drug interactions; pharmacists already do that, supposedly, and also anyone can check drug interactions online. The argument is obviously made: This database has been established and funded for no purpose but to profit its backers, which privately funded a state law. No media covered this because they’re in on the game. Would you be so agreeable to a private organization of drug dealers funding a state law legalizing drugs? Because it amounts to the same thing. Read the article again. You clearly missed the point, which couldn’t be sharper. Or wait for your first prescription having no abusive qualities — like my antidepressant I mentioned — and report back your reaction.

    • Jeffro says:

      I don’t agree that I missed the point and that your argument “couldn’t be sharper.” I think it’s pretty clear you don’t understand the purpose of a prescription drug database and that you believe the database was enacted in the state of Florida (and other states) for reasons of conspiracy theorists, rather than reality. I point your attention to FAQ #6. That’s really what it boils down to and the fact that this is HIPAA-compliant should settle your unrest. HIPAA is no bullshit and is taken very seriously by companies responsible for a patient’s privacy.

      On not having your prescription filled once it ran out: Coincidentally, I ran into the same issue just two weeks ago and it was also for an antidepressant. Perhaps, like me, your refills ran out and in order to have more prescribed, your doctor had to preauth it, which is standard practice.

  3. Paul A. Toth says:

    If that’s the case, then the prescription database should have been funded by the government, not a private institute. I’m no conspiracy theorist. The institute’s backers clearly prove their self-interest, and it has nothing to do with drug abuse. Furthermore, the number one problem in Florida was Oxycontin pain killer mills, which existed because of a legal loophole. That loophole could have been addressed through much simpler and less draconian legislation. And no, I didn’t run out of my antidepressant early. Perhaps you’re abusing your antidepressant. If you ran out early, that would be a red flag to a pharmacist thanks to the drug database, whether or not your physician re-auth’d it. I had a new prescription that wasn’t early even if for the prior antidepressant; a written prescriptiin IS a pre-auth, at least anywhere but Oz. At any rate, it’s not the drug database per se that’s my problem; it’s the shoddy legislation, which never delienates exactly what powers pharmacists have and which they now abuse at will, and the fact that it was not important enough for the state to pay its costs, so a third party with clear profit interests was allowed to cover the tab. Perhaps you would find it ethical for anti-gun organizations with backers who provide computer screening technology to pay for a new law that places more stringent regulations on gun ownership? Or an orgaization that sells data mining technology to pay for a law that monitors our computer activity? Hope about an coaltion of organic food sellers who pay for a law and its database that counts how many calories you purchase at the grocery store to protect you against heart disease? Do you really think it’s not a little strange that all three corporate backers of this legislation happen to be urine testers? And do you not think they’ll receive the bulk of the Urine Sector profits when people are shoved into inept and incompetent rehabs because of addictive drugs often prescribed without their ever having been told of those addictive qualities? I can only guess you’ve found one of the few competent psychiatrists, because otherwise you would know the implications involved when pharmacists determine whether or not one receives medications.

  4. dwoz says:

    Unfortunately, I find your argument less than compelling.

    I worked extensively on HIPAA. It is, for the most part, a way to ensure that insurers are privvy to all information they need to disallow claims. It is not a privacy act.

    But that notwithstanding, I find your argument lacking. I agree with Jeffro.

    While I want my healthcare provider to perform my care, and my pharmacist to merely provide me with whatever pills my provider has indicated, I don’t see the problem here.

    Maybe you need to restate the case?

  5. Paul A. Toth says:

    Maybe you need to reread the article. I never made a case about HIPPA, though a case could be made. The whole goddamned article addresses the fact that your prescriptions may not be filled for no reason whatsoever; I even provided a case example. The shoddy piece of legislation never specified pharmacy powers and so pharmacies have run amok with it.

    I’m sorry; I cannot debate with the politically retarded.

    • When you dismiss those who disagree with you with, “I’m sorry; I cannot debate with the politically retarded”, it’s clear you cannot debate whatsoever. I agree w/ some–not all–of the points you make here. But while the law isn’t airtight, neither is your thesis.

      If you can’t handle disagreement, don’t write. Simple.

    • dwoz says:

      What’s amusing and sad about this comment, paul, is that you will not find ANY reader or commenter here at TNB who is more inclined to subscribe to your premise than I am.

      There is literally not a single reader here more qualified and close to the issue of private databases of personal private information and the clear and present danger of it’s repurposing for nefarious corporate and/or governmental use.

      Your own personal anecdote about your un-fulfilled prescription doesn’t carry water for your premise. A pharmacist should balk at that request for any number of other reasons.

      I guess my main issue is that the piece is way short on actual “connect the dots” info and way long on personal anger and self-righteousness.

      When I read your slung epithet (at me), “politically retarded” I have to stop, pause, and remember that you’re in Florida. Clearly, you have to go someplace dramatic, like perhaps Arizona, to find more political retardation than what exists in Florida. So I walk back from my initial reaction of being incensed at it, and just offer a quiet commiseration instead.

  6. Paul A. Toth says:

    I meant it’s pointless to debate those who are attacking a point the article never addresses. I never argued that pharmacy databases are in and of themselves negative, The thesis is simple, clear and proven: Corporate interests PAID for this shabby law for CORPORATE interests, and no one has bothered to expose that fact. The law does not cover what it was broadcast to address, Oxycontin mills, but instead covers every drug in existence. The law does not clarify the powers of pharmacists, who’ve run amok. Documented. The backers of the bill having a personal stake: Documented. The thesis: Proven. Every comment to date has claimed to oppose an argument I never made.

    I can debate you or anyone else, but I won’t debate arguments I never made. And I fin it a bit surprising that no one seems to mind a STATE LAW being privately funded for corporate interests.

    Now, would you like to debate the article’s “thesis” or, rather, proven facts, or would you like to debate a misreading of the article?

  7. Paul A. Toth says:

    And you might like to know one effect of the law: Pharmacy robberies are already on the increase. Good.

  8. Paul A. Toth says:

    It doesn’t carry water? It carries cement. I have consistently, frequently, always been able to receive less than a prescribed dosage due to lack of money…until now. Who the hell abuses drugs by taking fewer of them?

    I also slightly edited my post so that my proven “thesis” is more clear. And I don’t know how many more dots you need connected. There are three financiers of the database: All urine/drug testers. Doi: Guess which corporations rehabs and prisons will be using in Florida.

    On a humorous note, you’re telling me Arizona is WORSE? Oh, yeah, they actually check your papers. One step closer to the Gestapo. On that note, thanks: I want to get the hell out of the Confederacy, over which so many lives were wasted when “Good riddance” would have done the bloodless trick. I’m getting old. I can’t afford another mistake like moving to Florida. To think a worse possibility exists freezes my spine!

  9. dwoz says:

    You know…after this “political retard” watched this week in Washington….I could give a fucking rat’s ass about Florida.

    This is the weirdest political environment ever.

  10. Paul A. Toth says:

    You got that right. Sorry about the “retard” comment. Bad week. Month. Year.

    • nancy says:

      You are a case study….unfortunately, I have been doing research unrelenting only to later find a blog that you have reported the very same thing. It is an exercise in focus…to follow you beyond the poetic flow of nonsense. Non the less, you are right on but not for the same reasons that have driven me in this quest for the last 2 weeks. Oh, You missed siting J. Tytone Gibson, Pres. and Founder of HID….don’t you love all the acronyms??? HID..Health Information Designs, Inc. 1997-2007. E-Clinical Solutions was a branch. His back round was and title PBM…Pharmacy Benefit Manager. There are things you have not considered and in fact are the very ones that have thrusted me in this vulgar abuse of power!
      Thanks for your keen sense of justice!

  11. dwoz says:

    no worries. passion is good.

  12. nancy says:

    to clarify…my research is simply related to self preservation. I do not blog….ever…except for this one. I feel it is an effort in futility. So…there it is.

  13. nancy says:

    I have not read the previous blogs….until just skimming a moment ago before longing off forever…..the arrogance of the dwoz…..caught my eye just before delete. You see, that person is me. The person that is not only capable, but the person experiencing first hand what happens when people let their basic rights to privacy slip away… on the guise of drug addiction and deaths!!!! Retarded should not be associated with politicians. It is a condition that some people have the misfortune to live with.

  14. nancy says:

    Okay..this is something you must know…James Slattery is the CEO of Millenuum and is now the chairman of , The Fl. PDMP Foundation, Inc. Also, ….one of the three players is a major PLAYER in a posh….drug rehab center in Delray! Talk about scratch my back and I’ll send you to an all day massage.

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