PHARMACY: Modern drug monitoring and outsourcing permits now law

Pharmacy-related bills of interest to retailers have become law during the Alabama Legislature’s 2018 regular sesssion.

Prescription Drug Monitoring update effective June 1
A new law to modernize Alabama’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program as recommended by the Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council takes effect June 1. The changes are intended to increase the number of prescribers using the program, the council said.

On Thursday, March 1, the governor signed Act No. 2018-146 by Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville. “The bill allows us to get numbers related to the opioid crisis, so we can apply for grants,” said Rep. April Weaver, R-Alabaster, author of the House companion bill, HB270.

The legislation creates a review committee that can approve the publication of aggregate statewide and regional health information for research or education. That data is to be free of any identifying information for patients, prescribers or dispensers.

The bill also clarifies that Prescription Drug Monitoring Program data can be used for “informing pharmacists and practitioners in prescribing or dispensing controlled substances.”  It allows Veterans Affairs pharmacists and doctors to utilize the program data, Dial said. Doing so could avoid conflicts between VA doctors and pharmacists and non-VA practitioners who are also treating the same patient, he said.

The Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council has asked for a $1.1 million line item for the Alabama Department of Public Health in the proposed 2019 budget to upgrade the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Dial said his bill is “just a first step.”

Annual permitting for outsourcing pharmacies takes effect May 1
As of May 1, outsourcing pharmacies that compound sterile drugs must have a state permit, under legislation signed into law this week.

Gov. Kay Ivey signed Act No. 2018-107 by Sen. Billy Beasley, D-Clayton, and Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chatom, on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Recently updated U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations require such permitting by 503B outsourcing pharmacies.

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