A Riverside County lawmaker’s proposal to relieve pharmacists during emergencies from complying with every security requirement in processing prescriptions for painkillers and other drugs was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Assembly and is now bound for the governor’s desk.
Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Temecula, introduced Senate Bill 569 in February after learning of the major challenges patients and healthcare providers contended with during the 150,000-acre Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise last year, killing dozens.
According to Stone, who is a licensed pharmacist, people suffering emotional disorders and health complications requiring a regimen of pain medication sought to fill prescriptions at temporary facilities staffed by medical personnel, but ran into problems because they did not have the security-compliant paper prescriptions that can be scanned and automatically entered into the state’s Controlled Substance Utilization, Review & Evaluation System, or CURES.
SB 569 would establish an exemption from the security-compliant form in the event of a “declared disaster.”
The legislation would permit doctors to write prescriptions on whatever forms they have available under emergency conditions. Pharmacists, who may be working out of temporary evacuation centers, churches or public schools, would be able to honor the prescriptions, using their “appropriate professional judgment” as to their authenticity and patients’ need for them.
The legislation specifies, however, that pharmacists would only be permitted to dispense a seven-day supply of Schedule II drugs, which fall under the federal Controlled Substances Act.
The California State Board of Pharmacy supported the senator’s proposal, which was unanimously approved by the Senate in May.
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