New legislation to help prevent opioid abuse.
ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) is recognizing the leadership of the Massachusetts state legislature, under the leadership of House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D) and Senate President Karen Spilka (D), along with Governor Charlie Baker (R), for the enactment of House Bill 4742. The new law requires that on or after January 1, 2020, prescriptions for Schedule II through VI controlled substances in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must be issued as an electronic prescription from the person issuing the prescription to a pharmacy.
In addition, the bill creates a statewide standing order for the dispensing of naloxone, a lifesaving medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The bill also allows pharmacists to bill the insurer for the person requesting an opioid antagonist dispensed through the standing order. Additionally, pharmacists are not required to determine the identity of the ultimate user, and the customer may pay cash for the prescription if they prefer.
“By enacting this bill, Governor Baker and the sponsors of this legislation have proactively and decisively taken action to curtail fraud, abuse and waste and helped address the opioid abuse epidemic,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steven Anderson. “NACDS is grateful for the leadership of the Massachusetts Chain Pharmacy Council, Rep. Carolyn C. Dykema (D), the primary sponsor of the electronic prescribing bill in the House, and NACDS-member pharmacies in Massachusetts for working to underscore the need for the new law based on their firsthand experiences on the frontlines of healthcare delivery.”
NACDS has long supported e-prescribing as part of the solution to the opioid abuse crisis and included it in its public policy recommendations earlier this year, along with ongoing pharmacy initiatives to prevent opioid abuse, including compliance programs; drug disposal; patient education; security initiatives; fostering naloxone access; stopping illegal online drug-sellers and rogue clinics; and more.
Public support for e-prescribing is strong in Massachusetts. A poll conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS in January 2018 found 77 percent of Massachusetts voters support a requirement that all prescriptions must be handled electronically, rather than via paper or fax, as a way to help address the opioid abuse epidemic.
Eleven states now have enacted an NACDS-backed mandate, including five that have enacted such legislation this year. Legislation is pending in four additional states. At the federal level, NACDS has endorsed the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act (H.R. 3528 and S. 2460). The bill would require that Schedule II through V controlled substances for Medicare Part D beneficiaries are prescribed electronically.