Pharmacy board shows support for addiction treatment Ohio House bill

File photo of state Rep. Timothy Ginter, R-Salem, from Ohio House website.

The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy on Tuesday spoke in support of a bill that would expand the types of facilities that could provide drug addiction treatment, including help with opioid dependence.

The Ohio House’s Committee on Health held the fourth hearing on House Bill 341, which also has the support of the Ohio Pharmacists Association. Pharmacists could be directly involved in the administration of injectable addiction treatment drugs under the bill.

HB 341 would allow for more access to injectable medication-assisted treatment (MAT) by taking away the need for an extra license for those who treat more than 30 patients, according to sponsor Timothy Ginter, R-Salem.

“Currently, any prescriber who provides office-based MAT to more than 30 patients has to obtain a dangerous distributor license,” Ginter said in submitted testimony on the bill. “This stigmatizes those who are treating patients with opioid use disorder.”

In the Tuesday hearing, the committee considered multiple amendments to the legislation.

One amendment sought to further define the facilities that can administer the medication for opioid dependence. In the amendment, only facilities who specifically treat patients for opioids “using on-site administration of a controlled substance” can be exempted from license regulations within the Ohio Revised Code, according to testimony from Ali Simon, public and policy affairs liaison for the board of pharmacy.

Simon said the bill and its amendments would allow pharmacists to provide prescription injectable drugs for addiction treatment.

“This continues an important trend of recognizing pharmacists’ ability to safely administer injectable medication,” Simon said in her statement to the committee.

A second amendment would allow the state prescription drug monitoring program, Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS), to share its information with the federal Defense Health Agency’s monitoring program. The DHA system includes military hospitals and clinics.

There has been no opposition testimony to the bill.