Pharmacy regulation changes advanced

Lawmakers advanced a bill March 28 that would update state law regulating pharmacy practice in Nebraska.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist24' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Mark Kolterman'>Sen. Mark Kolterman</a>
Sen. Mark Kolterman

LB166, introduced by Seward Sen. Mark Kolterman, would amend and update the Pharmacy Practice Act and the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

Kolterman said regulations governing pharmacists in Nebraska have not been updated since 2007. A recent review of those regulations revealed the need for updates and clarifications in state law, he said.

The bill would clarify that a Schedule II controlled substance could be dispensed in an emergency situation in which a prescribing practitioner determines that no appropriate alternative treatment is available, immediate administration of the controlled substance is necessary and it is not possible to provide a signed prescription for the dispenser.

In addition, the bill would allow a hospital to provide the unused portion of a drug to a patient upon discharge under certain circumstances.

“This is particularly important for patients who visit the emergency rooms at a critical access hospital,” Kolterman said, where discharged patients may not be able to immediately fill a prescription.

Among other provisions, LB166 also would:
• require that a pharmacist intern be supervised at all times;
• allow more than one drug to be placed in a container in certain circumstances;
• specify that 60 days be the quantity of drug indicated for a long-term care facility resident;
• extend the time available to fill the remainder of a partially dispensed controlled substance prescription from 72 hours to 30 days after the prescription date;
• authorize a pharmacist to enter into a practice agreement with a qualified licensed health care practitioner to provide pharmaceutical care independently; and
• require that a registered pharmacy in which controlled substances are stored or dispensed complete a controlled-substances inventory when there is a change in the pharmacist in charge.

A Health and Human Services Committee amendment, adopted 37-0, made several additional technical changes and added reporting, maintenance and documentation requirements.

The bill advanced to select file on a 37-0 vote.

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