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HB 44: Legislation introduced to allow pharmacists to dispense drugs during public health emergencies

Last year, OPA worked diligently with legislators on an emergency dispensing bill that would have required the Board of Pharmacy, along with the Department of Health, to develop protocols that would allow pharmacists and pharmacy interns to dispense limited quantities of dangerous drugs without a written, oral, or electronic prescription during a public health emergency. That bill did not have appropriate time to make its way through the legislative process last session. But Rep. Jeff McClain wasted little time at the commencement of the 130th General Assembly by introducing a similar bill this month – HB 44.

The bill has been assigned to the House Health & Aging Committee headed by Rep. Lynn Wachtmann. OPA has already had several meetings with interested parties and Rep. McClain’s office and are prepared for hearings and testimony. Notably, OPA member & Ohio State Board of Pharmacy Vice President Kevin Mitchell and OPA member & Summit County Board of Health President Dan Karant will both be giving proponent testimony for this important piece of legislation.

This bill highlights the vital role pharmacists play in their communities, and is a terrific example of how pharmacists can work with their state association to work for change in the legislature. The entire concept of this emergency dispensing bill was developed in OPA’s Pharmacist Preparedness Task Force and moved into the 129th General Assembly by OPA’s legislative team. Special thanks to OPA Pharmacist Preparedness Task Force Chair Kevin Mitchell for his efforts in support of this key legislation.

OPA will continue to keep you apprised of any developments and progress in this bill.

As your state pharmacy association, it is our job to communicate your needs to state and local leaders to ensure that pharmacy remains strong and viable in the state of Ohio. For more information on any of these issues please contact OPA’s Antonio Ciaccia at (614) 389-3236 or