"Remote" pharmacies bill approved by Michigan legislature

Michigan's state legislature has cleared a bill to allow people to pick up prescriptions at pharmacies in the state that are not staffed by an on-site pharmacists. The measure will allow for "remote" pharmacies, which proponents say will expand access to pharmacy services and improve health outcomes in rural and underserved areas.

Michigan's state legislature has cleared a bill to allow people to pick up prescriptions at pharmacies in the state that are not staffed by an on-site pharmacists. The measure will allow for "remote" pharmacies, which proponents say will expand access to pharmacy services and improve health outcomes in rural and underserved areas. Pharmacists at the "parent" pharmacies could use a real-time audio and video link to review a prescription before it is dispensed by pharmacy technicians. The legislation makes Michigan the 24th state to allow remote pharmacies, and it has the support of health groups including major drug distributor Cardinal Health and the Michigan Pharmacists Association. A remote pharmacy generally cannot be located within 10 miles of a regular pharmacy, unless it receives a waiver from regulators, and a pharmacist can be designated as the pharmacist in charge at three pharmacies, including two they could supervise remotely. Sen. Kurt VanderWall (R-Ludington), the bill's sponsor, has said that allowing remote dispensing sites would result in better patient education, increased medication adherence, fewer instances of risky drug combinations, and better health outcomes. All of these lead to lower overall cost of health care but higher quality of care," he said at a committee hearing.