Squilla pill mill bill pops foward

Mark Squilla : His bill would crack down on Rx abuse.
Mark Squilla : His bill would crack down on Rx abuse.
Posted: June 12, 2014

CITY COUNCILMAN Mark Squilla was met with zero opposition yesterday to a bill targeting so-called pill mills, medical practices in which doctors write prescriptions for highly addictive medications that are often resold on the street.

The bill would impose penalties and stop-work orders on such "nuisance health establishments." Council's Public Health and Human Services Committee passed it unanimously.

"These pill mills - we had lines of people waiting outside," Squilla said. "We had armed guards at the doors, cash businesses, people coming out, refilling prescriptions and reselling them outside in the neighborhood.

"It led to more crime and police activity. We thought we needed to do something about it."

Squilla said complaints from his constituents prompted the legislation.

"These doctors find ways to make additional dollars by doing these types of prescriptions. They are licensed doctors that are working for an entity or business that's created by a nonmedical professional," he said.

"We've had one that we even knew about that worked out of a porn shop. They were going in there, getting their prescriptions, then going out to the pharmacies to fill their prescriptions."

Nan Feyler, chief of staff to city Health Commissioner Donald Schwarz, said if the bill passes, jurisdiction for shutting down nuisance health centers would fall under Licenses & Inspections.

"I'm confident we have the expertise to enforce this bill," she said.

"Frankly, we've begun to have meetings with our enforcement units and actually they tell me this is fairly analogous to shutting down nuisance tattoo parlors."

Feyler said that under the city's health code that pertains to nuisance establishments, if one is found to be dispensing controlled substances against commonly accepted practices, medical records can be examined.


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