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January Legislative Update: Drug Abuse Reforms, Pharmacy Tech Registration, MAC Tranparency Passes!

Antonio Ciaccia, Director of Government &  Public Affairs and Michelle Fitzgibbon, Lobbyist

With our biggest goals already achieved earlier in this General Assembly (MAC transparency, consult agreements, med sync), we worked over the past several months to pass additional legislation that would make this General Assembly one of our most successful legislative stretches in OPA history.

SB 319: Pharmacy Tech Registration, Drug Abuse Prevention, MAC Transparency Improvements

SB 319, sponsored by Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township), makes several pharmacy law changes if signed, including:

In December, OPA was successful in advancing an amendment offered by Rep. Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) into SB 319 that will further improve Ohio’s maximum allowable cost (MAC) transparency laws. The changes will:

This language makes it clear that if your pharmacy successfully appeals a MAC claim, the PBM shall update the reimbursement to your pharmacy’s appeal price.

Ultimately, the PBM language is not everything we need, but these improvements should alleviate many issues being experienced in the current marketplace, and provide greater accountability. There is still much work to be done in the next General Assembly. Continue to send us issues you are experiencing with MAC pricing and other reimbursement structures.

We are pleased to report that SB 319 passed both chambers and, as of this writing, awaits a signature from Governor John Kasich!

SB 332:  Pharmacist Drug Administration, Infant Mortality Reforms

Rep. Sarah LaTourette’s (R-Bainbridge Township) HB 421, which allowed pharmacists to administer certain long-acting medications to patients, was successfully voted out of the House. Because the end of the 131st General Assembly was approaching, OPA got HB 421’s language added to SB 332 thanks to an amendment from Senator Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville). SB 332 is a comprehensive infant mortality reform bill championed by Senator Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) and Senator Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus).

SB 332 (and HB 421) allows pharmacists (under a physician protocol) to administer by injection any of the following drugs, if the patient has a valid prescription for the drug:

The bill also permits a pharmacist to administer epinephrine or diphenhydramine, or both, to an individual in an emergency resulting from any possible adverse reaction to a drug administration.

Aside from the pharmacist provisions, the bill also addresses several other initiatives aimed at improving Ohio’s infant mortality rates.

We are pleased to report that SB 332 passed both chambers and as of this writing, awaits a signature from Governor John Kasich!

HB 505: Biosimilar Substitution

HB 505 will allow pharmacists to substitute biosimilar interchangeable drugs for patients similarly to generic drug substitutions. OPA was successful in amending the original language to allow for most electronic system entries to constitute notification to the prescriber, thus reducing significant pharmacy administrative burden.

OPA worked to add a provision to expand different language allowances a prescriber can use to convey “Dispense As Written” or “DAW.” We have had pharmacies get penalized on PBM audits in the past when treating similar words (i.e., do not substitute, brand medically necessary, etc.) as equivalent to DAW. The bill provides that in the case of a written or electronic prescription, substitution of a generically equivalent or interchangeable biological product is prohibited if the prescriber handwrites or actively causes to display on the prescription “dispense as written,” “D.A.W.,” “do not substitute,” “brand medically necessary,” or any other statement or numerical code that indicates the prescriber’s intent to prevent substitution. In the case of an oral prescription, the bill provides that substitution is prohibited if the prescriber specifies that the drug is medically necessary or otherwise indicates the prescriber’s intent to prevent substitution. This language will ensure that those types of prescriptions are still lawfully valid and, thus, should be insulated from PBM audit takebacks based upon insignificant, technical errors.

HB 505 passed both the House and the Senate, and heads to the desk of Governor Kasich!

HB 285: Pharmacist Combining of Refills

HB 285 will allow pharmacists to combine prescription refills up to a 90-day supply of a non-controlled, maintenance drug. In the case of a prescription that authorizes a drug to be dispensed by refilling the prescription one or more times, a pharmacist who is filling or refilling the prescription may dispense a quantity or amount of the drug that varies from the quantity or amount of the drug that otherwise would be dispensed pursuant to the prescription if the following conditions are met:

1) A maintenance drug to be taken on a regular, recurring basis to treat a chronic condition;
2) A drug to be taken on a regular, recurring basis to prevent disease;
3) A contraceptive.

HB 285 passed both the House and the Senate, and heads to the desk of Governor Kasich!

OPA thanks all of our members and volunteers who helped refine, improve, and advance these pieces of pharmacy legislation. You are all part of the advocacy machine, and we couldn’t do it without you!

For more information on the bill, visit, or contact Antonio Ciaccia at

Pharmacy Political Action Committee

Please consider financial support of our legislative efforts by contributing to the OPA Pharmacy PAC. One hundred percent of Pharmacy PAC money goes to help candidates who support pharmacy in Ohio. Visit to make a donation!

For more information, contact Antonio Ciaccia at 614.389.3236 or

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