State Senator Dave Burke (R-Marysville) announced the passage of legislation to provide prompt access to potentially life-saving treatment for Ohioans with chronic medical conditions in an emergency situation. 

Senate Bill 141, jointly sponsored by Senator Burke and Senator Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville), would allow diabetes, asthma and certain cardiac medications such as nitroglycerin to be filled by pharmacists if a customer has made a reasonable attempt to contact a physician but has been unsuccessful.

The bill makes changes to the law governing physician-pharmacist consult agreements and ensures that pharmacists working under consult agreements have the ability to manage, modify, and initiate prescriptions within the desired scope.

“By revising the consult agreement statute we will improve patient care by reducing unnecessary administrative paperwork, and most importantly, improving disease management to help individuals with chronic conditions live long and prosperous lives,” Burke said.

The issue was brought to Senators Burke and Manning's attention following the death of an Avon Lake resident who passed away after when he could not get his prescription for insulin refilled on New Year's Eve in 2013.

“It just seemed ridiculous that a diabetic in 2015 could run out of prescription and die,” Burke said. “In a health care system that we pride ourselves on, something like this should not happen.”

The legislation allows a pharmacist to generate a prescription using the patient’s record one time per year, per drug. The bill does not give pharmacists independent prescriptive authority but allows the pharmacist to consult patients' prescription records to determine whether an emergency refill is warranted if a physician can not be reached. 

Narcotics and other pain medication refills are not permitted under the legislation. 

Senate Bill 141 passed the Senate with a vote of 32-0 and now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration. 

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