Legislative and Regulatory Update

by Scott A. Meyers, Executive Vice President
June 2, 2015

As most of you have heard, the General Assembly is headed to overtime, even though the last few days of the session looked like the last few minutes of an NBA blowout, which is called “garbage time”, with legislators throwing up any kind of a shot with the hope of it going in, or in this case getting passed!  The budget isn’t done and neither are several other key issues; so, the General Assembly will be back as early as this week to begin working.  The only problem is, now they are not getting paid and they need a 3/5 majority vote on every issue they wish to pass.   So here’s what happened to the key pharmacy legislation so far:
  • Biosimilars - SB1611 and HB3519, that would both require pharmacist reporting back to prescribers if an interchange is made, were amended into a completely unrelated bill SB455 and passed quickly through both chambers.  We are working now with a few of the State agencies that will be hit hard by the reporting requirement to see if the Governor will veto the reporting requirement or the entire bill.  Another option could be to have all biologic products dispensed reported to the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), which is now used only for controlled substances and long-term care medications.

  • Heroin Crisis Act - HB0001 was amended as promised and quickly passed through both chambers.  The early unfavorable sections, including a requirement for all pharmacies to establish medication take-back programs at their own expense, were replaced by State established programs through local law enforcement and municipal agencies.  The 10-day limit on CII prescription supplies was also removed.  ICHP, IRMA and IPhA worked diligently with a variety of health care associations and the sponsor to find common ground.  During the final days of the session, ICHP actually signed on as a proponent of the bill as amended.

  • Mandatory Continuing Education for Certified Pharmacy Technicians – Language from HB3271 that would require 20 hours of technician specific CE over two years was amended into HB3219, a bill that would have required pharmacies to dispense all Schedule II controlled substances in a special locking medicine closure package.  The requirement for the closure was removed and a voluntary pilot program was inserted in its place.  ICHP, IRMA and IPhA Now support this bill.  The bill made it through both chambers but was slightly amended in the Senate so it awaits the House’s concurrence before it can be sent to the Governor.  We hope this occurs quickly when the House returns this week.

  • Expanded Pharmacist Immunizations  - HB3627, which would have allowed pharmacists who are properly trained to administer all immunizations for patients 10 years old and older, with a valid prescription or standing order, did not advance.  A late revision of that bill that would have expanded pharmacists' administration of immunizations for patient 10-13 to include meningitis and MMR vaccines also died.  Both bills stalled as a result of resistance from the State Medical Society and Pediatricians in general.  ICHP will continue to work for expansion of pharmacist administration of immunizations in future sessions.

  • Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technician Fingerprinting – SB1747 appeared out of nowhere in the final days of the spring session, was amended in the House to require fingerprinting and associated background check of all applicants for pharmacist and pharmacy technician licenses The amendment is titled “The Gun Violence Intervention Act” and contains a variety of unrelated Acts and changes in addition to establishing a “gun court” in Illinois.  The bill did not pass out of the House and had it, it would have been required to go back to the Senate for concurrence.  What this amendment did do is identify that pharmacists and technicians are two of only a few health care related licensed personnel who currently do not have this requirement.  Physicians and nurses have had to meet this requirement for years.  It will be very hard, because of that, to fight this bill or future bills, even though we know this process will even further slow the license or registration application process!  We will watch this bill carefully in the overtime period but will probably not be able to fight it.  ICHP will keep all its members informed on this important development!
As mentioned earlier, the most pressing situations before the General Assembly are the next budget and Pension Reform.  We expect a long overtime session.  We’re not sure if this will help our own issues.  We will continue to update you as new details develop.  It is now clearer than ever that every pharmacist and pharmacy technician needs to be a part of ICHP’s or IPhA’s efforts in advocacy by being members and being informed!  And it doesn’t hurt to support our PAC’s either!

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