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July Legislative Update: Ohio House unanimously passes HB 479 to end PBM "clawbacks" and "gag-orders"

Antonio Ciaccia, Director of Government & Public Affairs and Michelle Fitzgibbon, Lobbyist

SB 119: Naltrexone Availability

In May, after months of work with legislators and interested parties, new language was adopted into SB 119 which will help address Ohio’s prescription drug abuse epidemic and fill gaps in care delivery to patients battling addiction. The impetus for the legislation was the story of Daniel Weidle, a 29-year-old from Germantown, Ohio who, while battling substance abuse disorder, eventually found sobriety through treatment with long-acting naltrexone (Vivitrol®). Unfortunately, after his treatment options disappeared without notice, finding a new provider for his naltrexone therapy proved extremely challenging. Eventually being left without treatment options, he relapsed and died. Here is his story: https://www.danielsstory.org/. In hearing the story, we were reminded of previous HB 188, which also sought to address instances when the conventional system for medication access fell apart. OPA looked for ways to apply the provisions of HB 188 in a similar fashion with SB 119 to ensure that gaps in care delivery for medication assisted treatment are minimized. In SB 119, recently added language will ensure that if patients experience accessibility issues for their next injection of Vivitrol®, they will have available options. If a patient’s doctor closes their doors, if a patient experiences an insurance coverage gap, if a patient is traveling away from their home clinic, or if a patient just simply can’t make it to their doctor in a timely manner, any pharmacy can help. As long as the pharmacist can verify that the patient is on some form of naltrexone therapy, the pharmacist can dispense a five-day supply of oral naltrexone to bridge the patient to their next injection. Or if the pharmacy has extra Vivitrol® in stock, the pharmacist would also be able to administer the drug provided they operate within established protocols currently required in Ohio law. Sponsored by Senators Bob Hackett (R-London) and Jay Hottinger (R-Newark), SB 119 authorizes a pharmacist to dispense naltrexone without a prescription if all of the following conditions are satisfied:

We are pleased to report that SB 119 was successfully voted out of the Ohio Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee in May. The Senate unanimously passed SB 119 at publication time, as the House Health Committee passed companion bill HB 167. “The legislature has worked to address the opioid crisis, and SB 119 is one more tool – a very important tool – to combat the epidemic,” said Senator Hottinger. “I appreciate the assistance of the Ohio Pharmacists Association on this crucial legislation to expand life-saving treatment options for patients, and I look forward to getting it signed into law.” “With more than 2,000 community pharmacies in Ohio, passage of SB 119 would exponentially increase access to a safety net of naltrexone providers that will help to ensure that when there is a need or demand, a supply will be available,” said OPA Government Affairs Director Antonio Ciaccia. “Ohio’s pharmacists, who already serve on the front lines of our healthcare system, are well-equipped to fill this gap, and we applaud the legislature for thinking outside the box in the development in this legislation, which will be the first of its kind in the country.”

We would like to thank Senators Bob Hackett, Jay Hottinger, and Dave Burke for their work in crafting and refining the language in the bill, as well as Representative Jay Edwards for his work in the House. These lawmakers should be applauded for taking this initiative. We also want to thank the Ohio State Medical Association for working with us to find agreeable language. Special thanks to Daniel’s father Scott for his instrumental efforts in making this legislation a reality.

HB 479: Clawback/Gag Order

On the heels of months of press coverage, White House scrutiny, and regulatory actions by the Ohio Department of Insurance, HB 479, legislation prohibiting PBM co-pay clawbacks and “gag orders,” passed unanimously out of the Ohio House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee. At publication time, HB 479 passsed unanimously in the Ohio House of Representatives. Thanks to the work of Representatives Scott Lipps.

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August 11-12, 2018

The Midwest Independent Pharmacy & Compounding Expo

Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capitol Square, 75 East State Street

August 14, 2018
11:00AM

Live Webinar: Required OSHA Training for Immunizing Pharmacists

August 22, 2018
7:30AM-5:15PM

APhA's Delivering MTM Services Certificate Training Program for Pharmacists

OPA Office- 2674 Federated Blvd, Columbus, OH 43235

August 29, 2018

Pharmacist Training Program for Immunizations

OPA Office - 2674 Federated Blvd, Columbus, OH 43235

September 11, 2018
11:00AM

Live Webinar: Required OSHA Training for Immunizing Pharmacists