House members on Monday voted to make Missouri the last state to adopt a prescription drug monitoring program aimed at cutting back at opioid misuse and doctor shopping.
Lawmakers voted 102-54 in favor of creating a database that tracks when doctors write scripts and pharmacists provide medications.
Missouri is the only state that hasn't passed a prescription drug monitoring program.
"No state has said, 'This isn't working' and stopped," said Sikeston Republican Rep. Holly Rehder. "No state has said, 'Our dollars are not being well spent' and stopped. This is working in all of these states."
The goal is to give physicians and pharmacists a tool to see if patients have recently filled or received prescriptions for opioids or other addictive drugs.
Rehder said implementing her bill could help doctors identify early signs of drug misuse and prevent doctor shopping, when patients visit multiple physicians to get drug prescriptions. She's also argued a database could help doctors to see if patients are unintentionally taking medications that react with each other.
Under her bill, doctors and pharmacists would be required to update the database within 24 hours. By 2020, updates would be required when prescriptions are written and filled.
The measure now heads to the Senate, where it has died in previous years.
Longtime critics in the Legislature cite concerns about the privacy of a database with patient medications.
Rep. Keith Frederick, a Rolla Republican and orthopedic surgeon who has worked as a pharmacist, also questioned the effectiveness of drug-tracking databases and said more money should be put toward addiction treatment.
"You make it more difficult to get prescription narcotics, it forces people to go to street drugs," Frederick said.