July Legislative Update: Emergency Dispensing, Naloxone, Viagra Mail Order
Antonio Ciaccia, Director of Government and Public Affairs
HB 44: Emergency Dispensing
On June 12, the House Health & Aging Committee voted unanimously to pass HB 44, the emergency dispensing legislation sponsored by Rep. Jeff McClain (R-Upper Sandusky). Several pharmacists had provided testimony in support of this bill, which was first conceptualized in OPA’s Pharmacist Preparedness Task Force. The bill has now passed the House and is on its way to the Senate.
If enacted, HB 44 would require the Department of Health, in coordination with other regulatory agencies like the Board of Pharmacy, to develop protocols that would allow pharmacists and pharmacy interns to dispense limited quantities of drugs without a written, oral, or electronic prescription during a declared public health emergency.
HB 59: The Ohio Budget
OPA worked hard on issues in the budget process and have a full report now that the budget bill has been signed into law by Governor John Kasich. Ohio Budget Update,2013_layout_interior
HB 170: Naloxone Access
Rep. Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) and Rep. Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus) introduced legislation in the House aimed at reducing drug overdose deaths. Similar legislation (SB 105) had previously been introduced in the Senate. HB 170 would allow a physician or other medical professional with prescriptive authority to personally furnish naloxone to the family or friends of an addict who is at risk of overdosing. The family member or friend could then administer the naloxone in the event of an overdose.
Currently, the only emergency responders lawfully allowed to administer naloxone are paramedics. HB 170 would allow more emergency responders to have and administer naloxone to a person who is demonstrating symptoms of an overdose. Additionally, the bill would allow a law enforcement agency to get licensed with the Board of Pharmacy to stock naloxone and have law enforcement officers administer it to victims of overdose.
OPA has submitted a letter of support for this bill. We feel it is a good, common-sense approach to prevent overdose deaths.
We hope this report has given you a window into the various issues that are impacting pharmacy on state and federal levels. 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 Antonio Ciaccia at 614.389.3236 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pharmacy Associations Challenge Viagra Mail Order Plan
The National Community Pharmacists Association, the American Pharmacists Association, and OPA (through the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations) have contacted Pfizer about its recent decision to sell Viagra® through a company website and deliver it via CVS Caremark mail order. In a joint letter, the groups said they appreciated and shared Pfizer’s concerns about the sale of often counterfeit Viagra® online, but they didn’t believe its new approach does anything to directly combat it. The letter also raised the issues of disrupting coordination of patient care by cutting out community pharmacies, patient confusion (some thinking they must fill their prescription online), and setting precedent for other products to be sold through a manufacturer website. We will keep you informed on this issue.
Track-and-Trace Bill Moves to Senate
Advocacy efforts to protect independent pharmacies from any onerous track-and-trace (TAT) requirements now turn to the Senate after the House passed legislation to protect the pharmaceutical supply chain from diverted or counterfeit prescription drugs. The House bill would require that transaction information, similar to a pedigree, be passed from trading partner to trading partner. In 10 years, the legislation would transition to a national, electronic TAT system. The Senate has combined its version of TAT with compounding legislation that would give a greater compounding oversight role to the FDA. NCPA was successful in getting language included in both the Senate and House bills to protect small pharmacies from electronic tracking at the package level until it is technically feasible, not prohibitively expensive, and can be integrated into existing business practices.
However, OPA joins NCPA over concerns with several of the compounding provisions in the Senate that would dilute state pharmacy boards’ authority. Sens. Harkin (D-IA) and Alexander (R-TN) have asked Senate leaders to bring their bill up for a vote in early July. OPA and NCPA will continue working to advocate that traditional pharmacy compounding should not be impeded by any legislative changes.