Springfield News-Leader, July 30
State needs drug database:
There are plenty of good reasons for Missouri to join the rest of the 49 states to establish a prescription drug database.
There is one misled but powerful state legislator who is making sure that doesn't happen.
Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, is more worried about a feared loss of privacy than he is the very real problems Missouri faces because of the lack of this simple method of tracking prescriptions. Schaaf has stood in the way of the passage of bills introduced to create such a database, calling his actions a defense of "people's liberty."
In a July 20 article about this situation in the New York Times, Schaaf is quoted as saying, after stopping one such bill in 2012, "If they overdose and kill themselves, it just removes them from the gene pool."
Most surprising is that Schaaf is a family physician.
Drug monitoring programs in other states vary, but they all require that doctors and pharmacists enter all prescriptions into a database that can be consulted to determine if a patient is getting too much medication or a doctor is prescribing too many narcotics.
Missourians prize their privacy, and state legislators are quick to reject any efforts to erode it. But in this case, the majority of legislators support a drug database, as does Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals in St. Louis, manufacturer of the highly abused prescription painkiller oxycodone.
In an article July 27 by Jonathan Shorman, Lynn Morris, a Republican representative from Nixa and the owner of Family Pharmacy, said he wants a database to be part of the 2015 House Republican agenda.
Gary Grove, owner of Grove Pharmacy in Springfield, agrees. Both men say that drug seekers from Missouri and neighboring states come into their pharmacies.
With a database, doctors and pharmacists can look up a person's drug record to determine if there have been too many narcotic prescriptions written for that person or if the prescription is legitimate.
The Missouri Board of Healing Arts can also look at the database to determine if a doctor or other medical professional is prescribing too many narcotics. Pharmacists who are part of the scam can also be caught through such a database.
Too many people are using Missouri as their drug shopping center and reselling those drugs on the black market.
We encourage Morris and his fellow legislators to work together to overcome Schaaf and his small band of supporters to end Missouri's run as the Midwest's illicit drugstore.
The Kansas City Star, July 29
Foul called on UMKC in rankings contest:
The University of Missouri-Kansas City can claim genuine progress over the last decade, as it continues to transform from a commuter campus to a vibrant university.
That reality makes it all the more disappointing to see UMKC succumb to the corrosive rankings frenzy that has gripped academia.
A Kansas City Star report found that the university has been advertising questionable rankings to burnish the reputation of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management, its business school. The rankings may have deceived students and parents and appear to have played a role in the receipt of a major financial gift.
Among the problems:
— The authors of a rankings study published by the Journal of Product Innovation Management were visiting scholars at UMKC at the time they wrote the paper. Their year-long visit had been arranged by the then-dean of the Bloch School and one of its notable professors, Michael Song.
Their paper ranked the Bloch School as No. 1 in the world in innovation management research. It also extended Song's rating as the No. 1 researcher in the field. The research parameters appear to have been designed to benefit Song and UMKC.
— When submitting data to the well-known Princeton Review, Bloch school officials claimed 100 percent of graduate entrepreneurship students had launched a business. They didn't disclose that their response only counted students in a one-year certificate program, for which students were required to start a business.
UMKC has used the rankings to recruit students to its business school. And a favorable bounce in the Princeton Review's ranking played a role in the school receiving a $32 million gift from its namesake, Henry W. Bloch.
The university is right to strive for recognition in its signature programs. But the questionable relationships and methodology used to boost rankings call both the quality and integrity of the Bloch School into question.
Unfortunately, the university's official response is to defend the rankings and cast aspersions on its critics, especially a Bloch School professor who persistently questioned the process.
That's precisely the wrong approach. Universities should be teaching ethics in their business schools, not sidestepping them to game the rankings. UMKC should begin an honest review of its participation in ranking reports and insist on following the highest standards.