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Legislative Update: Current and New Legislation

Diabetes Coverage, Freedom of Access, Uniform Rx Card

Legislative Update March 2004
Kelly Vyzral, Director of Government Affairs

As predicted in this election year, campaigns for the primary election are keeping legislators very busy. We are looking forward to the legislature resuming a more normal schedule after the Ohio primary on Super Tuesday, March 2, 2004. We have several bills on our agenda that we would like to see move through the legislative process quickly, and a couple of new bills that we will be watching closely.

Current Legislation
HB 146: Diabetes Coverage. This bill, which would require health plans to cover treatment of diabetes, has been promised a committee vote by the end of the year. It did not have a hearing in November, and was pulled from the calendar in December on the day it was scheduled for a vote. The diabetes grassroots network is busy contacting legislators and the Governor concerning the importance of this measure.

HB 253: Freedom of Access. Introduced by Rep. Tom Patton, this bill would allow nonparticipating pharmacies to enter into contracts if they accept the same terms and conditions. Again, we are awaiting sponsor testimony on this bill, and hope to see movement on this issue in March. This legislation continues to become more necessary as more health plans begin to increase their reliance on mail order to save money. This legislation is very important, and we will be watching it carefully.

SB 43: Uniform Rx Drug Card. OPA was contacted by Sen. Robert Spada, the sponsor of the bill, stating that he was ready to move on the issue and would be calling the Senate Health Committee chairman’s office to request a hearing. This legislation has the support of insurance, medical and pharmacy interests, so when the General Assembly resumes business in March, we hope to see quick passage of the bill.

New Legislation
SB 147: Physician Assistant Prescribing. Introduced by Sen. Lynn Wachtmann, this legislation would give physician assistants physician-delegated prescriptive authority. The bill, as currently written, has a negative formulary, no delineated scope of practice, and no authority by the Medical Board. Several healthcare groups join us in our concern about the lack of clinical education and experience involved in obtaining a physician assistant’s license. We are in discussions now with the sponsor of the bill to add pharmacists to the list of those with limited prescriptive authority. This legislation has been assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

SB 196: Compounded Drugs. Sponsored by Sen. Wachtmann, this bill would allow a pharmacist to compound and dispense a dangerous drug to a licensed prescriber for use by the prescriber in the prescriber’s office. This legislation would allow for non-patient specific, multi-dose compounding. It would place strict guidelines on the disposal of sterile injectibles, and place a 60-day expiration on other compounds. The OPA Compounding Special Interest Group (SIG) raised several issues of concern about the legislation, including increased cost of doing business due to increased regulation and oversight by the Board of Pharmacy and the FDA, and the fear that this legislation could encourage manufacturing under the guise of compounding.

Legislation to Allow Colleges of Pharmacy to Use Outdated or Unusable Drugs. Several pharmacists associated with colleges of pharmacy in Ohio brought up the issue of allowing the colleges of pharmacy to use outdated or unusable drugs for the instruction of pharmacy students. The cost of buying new drugs to use for instruction is becoming prohibitive. Rep. Sean Webster has agreed to draft and sponsor this legislation.

If you have questions or concerns about any of the bills mentioned in this article, please contact Kelly Vyzral, Director of Government Affairs, at 614.798.0037, or

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