April showers bring…. more snow!?!?! Ugh, I like the change in seasons as much as the next guy but this is getting pretty old, bring on the warm weather! Enough weather ranting, let’s talk about pharmacy. In my very first blog I talked a bit about how the profession of pharmacy has changed over the years and how roles and responsibilities for Pharmacists have adapted to the needs of the healthcare system. In Minnesota, we seem to be on the precipice of another major change in pharmacy.
Much work is being done behind the scenes working with the House and the Senate to address Pharmacist prescribing of certain medications. If passed, this bill would allow for Pharmacists to be able to prescribe for patients;
- Medication to be used for the treatment of opioid overdose – These medications are safe to keep on hand for; patients utilizing high doses of opioid medications, households with patients using opioid medications where small children may gain access, patients with illicit drug addiction.
- Smoking cessation medications – Including nicotine patches/lozenges/gum and Chantix.
- Travel medications recommended by the CDC specifically for patients/residents traveling abroad, the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy will maintain a specific list of these travel medications and update them periodically.
If this bill passes successfully, the hope is that by instituting these services in pharmacies throughout the state it would greatly increase convenience for patients seeking these services. The thought also, is that we could get improved patient care by increasing smoking cessation rates and reducing opioid overdose deaths. Several other states have already adopted these measures and others like it as well, and they have seen some very promising results so far (increased patient satisfaction, improved patient care, reduced healthcare costs).
Stay tuned for more updates, we should have a decision for this legislative session within the next month or so. Also, feel free to advocate to your legislators for the approval of the Pharmacist Prescribing Authority bill!