Today House Bill 285, which allows pharmacists to dispense additional refills to patients, unanimously passed the Ohio House. State Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) sponsored this bill in an effort to cut costs for pharmacies, patients, and healthcare providers.
Under this legislation, pharmacists will be allowed to dispense up to a 90-day supply of additional refills for a patient who has been prescribed a certain medication with multiple 30-day refills. With prescription drug costs on the rise, especially as an increased number of individuals are diagnosed with chronic conditions, House Bill 285 gives patients additional refill options for maintenance medications.
This legislation gives pharmacies the same abilities as a mail-order pharmacy, which is already able to provide a customer with an extended supply of prescription refills.
“Dispensing up to 90 days of refills can result in improved health outcomes and medication adherence,” said Sprague. “This bill can put retail pharmacy practices in line with what mail-order pharmacies are already dispensing.”
This legislation excludes controlled substances from qualifying for the 90-day refill supply, and also allows a prescriber to make a note on the prescription preventing the patient from obtaining an extended supply.
Currently, there are barriers that prevent Ohio’s retail pharmacies from filling prescriptions for extended periods of time. Pharmacists are prevented from using their professional judgement to dispense a 30-day prescription and additional refills at the same time.
According to committee testimony, extending a pharmacists’ ability to dispense additional refills has demonstrated a clear trend in cost savings. According to a study published in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Medicare & Medicaid Research Review, providing a patient with refills up to 90 days increases that patient’s likelihood to continue taking the medication without interruption.
Not adhering to a prescription regimen is a major contributor to higher healthcare costs, according to witness testimony on HB 285. This inconsistency in routine accounts for approximately $290 billion annually in increased healthcare cost, and leads to higher hospitalization and mortality rates.
The Ohio Senate will now consider this legislation for further review.