Five Indiana laws expand pharmacists’ scope of practice

Legislation was championed by state association and pharmacist legislators

Two pharmacists serving in the Indiana state legislature and the Indiana Pharmacists Alliance (IPA) have successfully passed five pieces of legislation addressing immunizations, opioids, and prior authorizations, and stiffer penalties for pharmacy robberies. The bills were signed by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb in June and took effect on July 1, 2017.

Indiana Sen. Ron Grooms (R-46) and Rep. Steve Davisson (R-73), both pharmacists, authored and led the charge to pass the bills, which were drafted in collaboration with IPA’s legislative and regulatory team. IPA developed case presentations and testified more than a dozen times in support of the legislation.

The new laws have wide-ranging implications for Indiana pharmacists. “Pharmacists will be able to practice at a higher level,” said Randy Hitchens, IPA executive vice president.

SB 51 allows pharmacists to administer immunizations against measles, mumps, and rubella, varicella, hepatitis A and B, and haemophilus influenzae type B under protocols set by the state health commissioner. Previously, pharmacists were limited to administering immunizations against influenza, herpes zoster, pneumonia, tetanus, HPV, PPSV-23, and meningitis.

HB 1540 stiffens penalties for pharmacy robberies and permits Indiana’s state health commissioner to authorize a standing order for pharmacists to administer and dispense smoking cessation products. The new law also defines tele-pharmacy, optimizes medication synchronization, and modernizes Board of Pharmacy eligibility and notification requirements.

SB 73 requires health plans to accept and respond to prior authorizations requests electronically, which IPA said in a media release will save pharmacists and patients time.

SB 226 aims to combat opioid abuse by allowing partial fills of opioid prescriptions.

SB 392 adds albuterol and naloxone to the list of emergency medications that schools can fill and store and ensures that injectable epinephrine will have an expiration date no shorter than 12 months after it is dispensed by a pharmacy.

Hitchens said that IPA is now surveying its members to identify legislative targets for 2018, noting that “PBM transparency and MAC pricing, technician certification, and implementing our smoking cessation standing order are high on our priority list.”

Hitchens encourages Indiana pharmacists to visit the pharmacy bills library on IPA’s website to view executive summaries and stay updated on the status of pharmacy-related legislation.