This month, the State of Indiana joined other states – like Florida, Georgia, and Kentucky – in passing new laws to protect people from “pill mills” when Governor Mike Pence signed Senate Enrolled Act 246 into law.
Actions taken to stop greed in the health care industry and the harm that it causes should be applauded; let us hope that the new statute works to protect future potential victims of these infamous Pill Mills. Particularly since these places have become more and more popular in our part of the country as other states have cracked down on their operations (like Florida, which has been known in past years as the country’s Pill Mill Capital.)
What is a Pill Mill?
A “pill mill” can be a variety of health care facilities: sometimes a pill mill is located in a doctor’s office, sometimes it’s in a pain clinic or a therapy center. These are places that often have the look and feel of providing legitimate medical care.
Whatever the location, the place becomes a profit center for its owners as it dispenses medications without respect for accepted medical practices or for state and federal law. Public demand is high for certain kinds of medications, including pain pills like oxycodone.
What Does SEA 246 Do?
The new legislation essentially gives marching orders to various state organizations to do their part in cracking down on pill mill operations in the State of Indiana as well as working to help those who are victims of pill mills and suffering from issues related to prescription drug misuse or abuse.
1. It goes into effect on January 1, 2014
2. It gives the Indiana Attorney General’s Office the power to ask an Indiana Court for an injunction order to stop an owner of a “pill mill” which is violating controlled substance registration and control laws.
3. It puts a duty on the Indiana Medical Licensing Board to contribute to stopping pill mills by passing rules about: (1) standards and procedures for the attorney general to follow in accessing physicians’ records and inventory; and (2) standards and protocol for the prescribing of controlled substances.
4. Before it officially goes into effect, during the 2013 legislative interim, the Indiana Health Finance Commission is required to research and determine: (1) the issues concerning pharmacy programs designed to take back and dispose of old and expired prescription drugs; and (2) the use of methadone and opioids in treatment programs and clinic settings.
5. It puts a duty on the Indiana Division on Mental Health and Addiction to give the Health Finance Commission numbers and data on opioid treatment in the state and to immediately begin a study on the issues of treatment and recovery from prescription drug use addiction.
What Doesn’t It Do?
This statute does work to fight against pill mills in Indiana; however, it does not provide for damages and justice to the individual or their family who have been harmed by serious injury or wrongful death after becoming victim to a misused powerful prescription drug. For these people, the courtroom and state law personal injury claims exist.