The new state law requires electronic prescribing of controlled substances by January 1, 2022. NACDS notes that while such legislation has been advanced to help address opioid abuse, the value of e-prescribing also can be seen in light of current physical distancing strategies associated with the response to COVID-19. The law follows the lead of the federal SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act of 2018 which will require that controlled substance prescriptions for Medicare Part D patients be e-prescribed.
“While work on this legislation began well before the current pandemic, the importance of this legislation is multi-fold. The use of secure technology rather than paper prescriptions helps decrease prescription drug diversion and fraud and also has benefits in a situation like the current pandemic,” said NACDS president and CEO Steven Anderson. “According to the most recent National Progress Report by the Surescripts health information network, 97% of Maryland pharmacies are enabled to receive electronic prescriptions.”
NACDS recognized the leadership of the primary bill sponsors, Delegate Erek L. Barron (D) and Senator Delores G. Kelley (D); House Health and Government Operations Committee Chair Shane E. Pendergrass (D); House Health and Government Operations Committee Vice-Chair Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D); and Senate Finance Committee Vice-Chair Brian Feldman (D). NACDS also acknowledged the leadership roles of Delegate Ariana Kelly (D), Chair, Health Occupations & Long-Term Care Subcommittee of the House Health and Government Operations Committee, and Senator Paul G Pinsky (D). Senator Kelley also serves as Senate Finance Committee Chair.
NACDS also expressed appreciation for the role of the Maryland Association of Chain Drug Stores; the Maryland Pharmacists Association; EPIC Pharmacies; the Maryland Department of Health; and all pharmacies that engaged in the legislative process.