A bill aimed at beefing up California’s prescription drug monitoring system so that it can be better used to track drug abusing patients and recklessly prescribing physicians emerged from an Assembly committee Monday on a unanimous vote.
The bill by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord), which was backed by Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris, was approved 14 to 0 by members of the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection. The bill is next scheduled for consideration by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
The proposed law is one of several bills aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths in California. The legislation was spurred in part by an investigative report in The Times last year that linked drugs prescribed by doctors to nearly half the prescription-involved overdose deaths in Southern California from 2006 through 2011. Seventy-one doctors prescribed drugs to three or more patients who later fatally overdosed.
The bill approved Monday would create a steady stream of funding for the so-called CURES program by raising licensing fees on doctors, pharmacists and other prescribers.