There are big changes afoot for pharmacies both in Idaho and across the United States.
Starting July 1 in Idaho, if you have a short-term illness or something that can be diagnosed via an easy test such as a sinus infection, strep throat or a cold sore, instead of going to the doctor, you can get a prescription straight from your local pharmacist.
In addition, if you have something that has been previously diagnosed, such as asthma, you don’t have to return to your doctor for a refill of your prescription. That, too, you can get from a pharmacist.
This is all thanks to House Bill 191, which was passed into law by the Idaho Legislature last year.
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According to Dr. Jennifer Adams, the associate dean for academic affairs at Idaho State University’s College of Pharmacy, each year the Idaho Board of Pharmacy goes to the Legislature and asks for certain things that pharmacists be allowed to prescribe in the pharmacy. So pharmacists have been able to prescribe independently, for some things written into state statute, since the 1990s. For instance, pharmacists have been able to prescribe fluoride for several years.
“We have counties in the state of Idaho that do not have fluoridated water,” Adams said, “and so the dental community was concerned and wanting patients to have easy access to getting fluoride supplements for their children.”
Last year, at the urging of the Board of Pharmacy, the Idaho Legislature decided to greatly expand what the state’s pharmacists can prescribe.
“Last legislative session … there were a number of things that were brought forward from the Board of Pharmacy and the pharmacy community to our state Legislature and they passed those,” said Adams, who teaches the pharmacy law class at ISU and has doctoral degrees in pharmacy and education. “But there were some members of the Senate and the House Health and Welfare committees who said … ‘Is there not a more efficient way of doing this other than each separate thing being brought to the Legislature?’”
So House Bill 191 was passed, allowing for the Board of Pharmacy to determine for itself in its rule-making process which items pharmacists could prescribe.
Still, there are only certain conditions pharmacists can prescribe for.
There are four cases in which pharmacists can prescribe medicine: for something that doesn’t need to be diagnosed; for something that is minor and will run its course (for instance, a cold sore), which is called “self-limiting” in the health care community; for something that has a simple test that can be done by the pharmacist (for instance, a strep test); or in instances of emergency.
In addition to letting pharmacists prescribe a lot more medications, the Board of Pharmacy was able to reduce some other regulations.
“One of the more important things to happen at the same time (as House Bill 191) was a reduction of regulation in the rule book,” Adams said...
*Read the full article titled BIG CHANGES: New regulations, changes to state rules are keeping pharmacies on their toes, online at https://idahostatejournal.com/business_journal/health_care/big-changes-new-regulations-changes-to-state-rules-are-keeping/article_f2ad6013-2af5-5998-b9af-f62349726224.html