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Comments from the Capital: March 12, 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018   (0 Comments)
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Legislative Session Summary

 

March 12, 2018  

 

The priority pharmacy bills on which FSHP has been advocating this session all appear to have reached their destiny as of today and are summarized below.

Creation of Class III Institutional Pharmacy Permits – HB 675 by Rep. Brodeur/SB 1128 by Sen. Stargel

HB 675 creates a new Class III institutional pharmacy permit (Class III permit) for hospital-affiliated institutional pharmacies, including central distribution facilities that provide the same services authorized by a Class II permit. The bill exempts Class III permit holders from obtaining additional permits from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) to distribute medical drugs or prepackaged drug products between entities under common control.  The bill also exempts hospitals that participate in the Section 340B Drug Discount Program from obtaining a Restricted Prescription Drug Distributor permit when arranging for a prescription drug wholesale distributor to distribute prescription drugs covered by the Section 340B Drug Discount Program directly to its contract pharmacy. This bill passed both Houses and unless vetoed by the Governor will become l aw on July 1, 2018.


Collaborative Practice - HB 689 by Rep. Byrd/SB 914 by Sen. Garcia.  This was our top priority legislation to amend Section 465.003 and 465.0125, F.S. authorizing physicians and pharmacists to enter into collaborative practice agreements with physicians to provide comprehensive medication management services pursuant to such agreements. Under provisions of a collaborative practice agreement, consultant pharmacists would be authorized to:

  • Order and evaluate laboratory or clinical tests;
  • Conduct patient assessments, as appropriate to monitor and evaluate drug therapy;
  • Initiate, modify, or discontinue medications; and
  • Administer medications.

Legislators were provided with evidence that this bill would improve patient outcomes, lower health care costs, and improve access to pharmacist services. While the bill did not make it to the finish line this Session, it passed all House committees to which it was referred and the full House voted in favor by a vote of 116-0. All three physicians serving in the House were among those voting in support of our bill. This strong showing in the House positions us well to seek and secure passage by both the House and Senate next Session.

Remote Dispensing Site Pharmacies – HB 679 by Rep. Ponder/SB 848 by Grimsley. This bill would have authorized registered pharmacy technicians to compound and dispense medications in remote locations under supervision of pharmacists by electronic means, i.e., by audio-video technology. This Remote Dispensing Site Pharmacy legislation was opposed by a pharmacy coalition including FSHP, FPA and FIPN on the basis of concerns for patient safety. This bill died in committee in the Senate and on the House Calendar.

Infectious Disease Elimination Act - HB 579 by Rep. Jones/SB 800 by Sen. Braynon.  This bill authorizes the expansion of the Infectious Disease Elimination Act (IDEA) pilot syringe exchange program previously established in Miami-Dade County to combat HIV infection in that county. FSHP supports this legislation as a means to reduce healthcare costs ($400,000 saved for each person not infected with HIV over the life of these patients) and as a means of disease prevention. As of this writing the SB 800 has passed the Senate and is in messages to the House while HB 579 has cleared all House committees.

Prescription Drug Price Transparency – HB 351 by Rep. Santiago/SB 1494 by Sen. Montford. This bill which was enacted with the support of FSHP, FIPN and FPA requires that a contract between a Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) and a health plan include prohibitions on certain practices that limit patient access to pricing information. The bill specifies that these contracts must require the PBM to update maximum allowable cost pricing information at least once every seven days. This requirement has been added to the Insurance Code, giving the Office of Insurance Regulation enforcement authority over PBMs for the first time. The bill also requires health plan contracts to limit patient cost sharing for a drug to the lesser of the applicable cost sharing amount, the total submitted charges, or the retail price.  The bill creat es an af firmative duty for a pharmacist to communicate to a patient the availability of a lower cost, generically equivalent drug if one exists and whether the patient’s cost sharing obligation exceeds the retail price of a drug in the absence of prescription drug coverage.  If approved by the Governor this bill will take effect July 1, 2018.

Testing and treating for influenza and streptococcal infections -  HB 431 by Rep. Plascencia/SB 524 by Sen. Brandes.  This legislation would have created new authorization for pharmacists to test and treat for influenza and streptococcal infections through a written protocol between a pharmacist and supervising physician. It would require pharmacists to be certified by the Board of Pharmacy to provide this health care service and submit their written protocol to the Board of Pharmacy for approval. The bill would also require pharmacists to carry a minimum of $200,000 of professional liability insurance and complete a minimum of eight hours of continuing education training including point-of-care testing for influenza and streptococcus as a safe and effective treatment of these diseases. FSHP has joined FPA and FIPN in support of this proposal; however, the bill died in the Senate Health Policy Committee.

In conclusion, we made progress this session with the passage of some much-needed bills and helped to prevent the passage of legislation adverse to public safety and the profession of pharmacy.  Many thanks to Dr. Karen Sando, Chair of the Legal and Regulatory Affairs Council and Dr. Kathy Baldwin, Immediate Past President for their leadership in our government advocacy efforts.

 


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