The National Association of Chain Drug Stores today commended the enactment of an electronic prescribing bill (HB 342) that would require the vast majority of prescriptions for controlled substances, including opioids, to be submitted electronically, which will help in the fight against opioid abuse.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed the bill into law March 26. It will become effective Jan. 1, 2021.
NACDS recognized the leadership of Rep. Steve Sheldon, R-Ky., a pharmacist and sponsor of the House bill; House Health and Family Services Chair Kim Mose; and Senate Health and Welfare Chair Ralph Alvarado, in advancing the legislation. NACDS also recognized the Kentucky Retail Federation for its work in advocating for the bill.
Electronic prescribing enjoys popular and nonpartisan support in the state as a strategy to help prevent opioid abuse. A January 2019 survey, conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS, found that 62% of Kentucky registered voters support rules that all prescriptions must be handled electronically, rather than by paper or fax, to reduce the likelihood of fraud and abuse. Only 19% indicated opposition.
"This legislation is an important part of a wide-ranging and effective approach to protecting families and communities. Electronic prescribing increases security and curbs waste, fraud and abuse," NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said, adding "Sixteen states now have enacted e-prescribing legislation as part of the opioid-abuse solution, and we appreciate Kentucky’s proactive response in advancing this bill which will help address this critical issue.”
President Trump in 2018 signed into law federal legislation—the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act—which includes provisions of the NACDS-backed Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act. The new federal law requires electronic prescribing for Schedule II through V controlled substances prescriptions covered under Medicare Part D to help prevent fraud, abuse and waste – with limited exceptions to ensure patient access.
NACDS has been instrumental in advancing the use of electronic prescribing as a safeguard and was on the leading edge of working with the Drug Enforcement Administration to allow electronic prescribing of controlled substances. Until 2010, it was not allowed.
The legislation is consistent with NACDS’ policy recommendations to help address the opioid-abuse epidemic. These recommendations reflect pharmacists’ firsthand experiences on the frontlines of care, as well as extensive collaboration with law enforcement and health professionals on the complex issue of opioid-abuse prevention.