COLUMBUS—State Derek Merrin’s (R-Monclova Township) House Bill 101, the Epinephrine Accessibility Act, which seeks to make epinephrine auto-injectors more affordable and accessible for Ohioans who rely on the medication to treat life-threatening allergic reactions, was signed into law by Governor Kasich yesterday.
House Bill 101 allows pharmacists to substitute a prescribed, brand-name epinephrine auto-injector for a pharmaceutically equivalent epinephrine auto-injector. Epinephrine auto-injectors are not substitutable under current state law in most instances.
“By relaxing restrictive barriers, pharmacists will be empowered to seamlessly ensure patients are provided less expensive epinephrine auto-injectors,” said Merrin. “The legislation makes it easier for Epi Pen competitors to compete, which will ultimately lead to lower costs.”
Also, the bill enables pharmacists to dispense epinephrine auto-injectors to adults 18 years of age or older, under a physician’s protocol. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy, with consultation of the State Medical Board of Ohio, will establish protocol requirements that govern the conditions under which pharmacists can dispense epinephrine auto-injectors to adults without a prescription.
“House Bill 101 is primed to become the national model for states tackling the soaring cost of epinephrine auto-injectors,” said Merrin. “It’s the free-market solution to the Epi Pen debacle and will provide patients easier access to the life-saving medicine without having to jump through unnecessary barriers.”
“House Bill 101 is a disruptive force that utilizes pharmacists to eliminate the hurdles standing in the way of patients and their live-saving medications,” said Antonio Ciaccia, Director of Government & Public Affairs for the Ohio Pharmacists Association. “Additionally, House Bill 101 will tear down the regulatory barriers that insulate entrenched manufacturers from more traditional market forces, and it provides a new framework that should be used to create more competition for all drug devices, which will inevitably lead to lower prices in the future.”
The Epinephrine Accessibility Act was unanimously passed by both the House and Senate before it was signed by the Governor.