The past few days in Tallahassee were long, but very productive. On Monday April 1st, the day began with a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda. You can see some local media coverage from WCTV Tallhassee of the press conference by clicking here.
Later that morning, the three gentleman below and myself visited and spoke individually with the members of the Senate Health Policy Committee to discuss the reasoning behind our strong opposition to Senate Bill 818. Larry Gonzalez (pictured next to me) is a lobbyist for the Florida Society of Health System Pharmacists, George Malone is a Pharmacist and Director Pharmacy, as is, Mike Putze (pictured far right).
On Tuesday we had the Senate hearing and unfortunately, due to time constraints, the senate was not able to vote on SB818 and said that they would be addressing the bill during their next session on Tuesday April 9th. With that being said, I believe they were only trying to appease me that day and prevent me from providing my full testimony in opposition of this ludicrous bill, by giving me only a minute at the end of the session. For that reason, I am planning on flying back to Florida this Monday so that I can provide my full testimony. You can view my minute of testimony and see exactly how the legislators in Florida operate, with respect to these types of very important issues seriously affecting the public safety of the residents of their state, by clicking here to visit the official Florida Senate Video Archive. I was given about a minute to present my testimony at the 174.35 time stamp. Please fast forward through the video to that time to see the pertinent clip.
During the senate hearing we did hear some good news regarding the Florida State Pharmacy Board. Prior to our work last week, they were actually supporting the passage SB818. In my limited opinion, the only reason I believe they were in support of this bill initially, was simply due to the fact that a few of their board members are currently employed by Walgreens. Because a few of these board members receive a paycheck from Walgreens, I think this was the ONLY reason they were able to temporarily sway the other, upstanding members of the Florida State Pharmacy Board. By initially supporting this bill they were NOT accomplishing their core obligation to the public they serve, which is protecting the residents of their state from unsafe pharmacy practice and supporting a very deadly piece of legislation like SB818. With that being said I am very pleased to announce that, during this hearing, we received word that the Florida State Board of Pharmacy was WITHDRAWING their support of SB818! Bottom line if this bill, STILL, successfully passes through the Florida Senate, next Tuesday April 9th, then those Senators on the Senate Health Committee who end up voting in favor of SB818, need to be held accountable for ALL of the medication errors and subsequent deaths that will occur if it’s passed! Furthermore, those who vote in favor of SB818, ignoring what the experts in pharmacy, including their own State Board of Pharmacy, are saying that by increasing the pharmacy technician to pharmacist ratio to 6:1 is an EXTREMELY UNSAFE pharmacy practice, are truly not looking out for the best interest of their residents and actually putting them in harms way. Thus, they will be putting organizations like Walgreens PROFITS before the public safety of ALL of the Florida residents, including their own families and loved ones!
For those of you in the public who have friends and family in Florida and especially those who live in Florida I urge you to immediately contact ALL of the members of the Florida Senate Health Policy Committee (listed below), as soon as possible, and help voice your strong opposition to this DEADLY sentate bill SB818! Please help The Emily Jerry Foundation KILL SB818 before it KILLS the residents of the state of Florida!
SENATE HEALTH POLICY COMMITTEE
Tallahassee Phone: (850) 487-5004
District Phone: (727) 552-2745
Tallahassee Phone: (850) 487-5022
District Phone: (305) 654-7150
Tallahassee Phone: (850) 487-5036
District Phone: (305) 270-6550
Tallahassee Phone: (850) 487-5037
District Phone: (941) 741-3401
Tallahassee Phone: (850) 487-5026
District Phone: (305) 364-3100
Tallahassee Phone: (850) 487-5038
District Phone: (863) 386-6016
Tallahassee Phone: (850) 487-5021
District Phone: (813) 233-4277
Tallahassee Phone: (850) 487-5019
District Phone: (954) 924-3693
Tallahassee Phone: (850) 487-5033