Pharmacist Says New Prescription Refill Law is Beneficial

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COLUMBIA - One local pharmacist said Thursday he believes a new law could be beneficial for those in need of immediate medical refills.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed House Bill 315 Wednesday, which allows pharmacists to dispense a small emergency dose of prescription medicine if the prescribing doctor is unavailable. The medication cannot be a controlled substance, or a drug regulated by the government. The bill also states that in order to dispense the medication, the pharmacist has to believe in their professional opinion that an interruption in the treatment would cause health problems to the patient.

Randy Flow owns Flow's Pharmacy right next to Boone Hospital.

"It will be very beneficial," Flow said. "The alternative is somebody's taking a medication that they have to have, and it's obvious to everyone that they have to have it, but the way it currently exists you would be breaking the law for giving it. Some patients might die if they don't get it."

The law goes into effect August 28.

The new law also expands telehealth capabilities in Missouri. Telehealth is using electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care. The new law establishes using telehealth by advanced practice registered nurses in certain rural areas that have a shortage of healthcare professionals. Previously, advanced practice registered nurses were not allowed to travel farther than 50 miles from the collaborating physician in rural areas of the state. State law defines an advanced practice registered nurse as "a nurse who has education beyond the basic nursing education and is certified by a nationally recognized professional organization as a certified nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, certified registered nurse anesthetist, or a certified clinical nurse specialist."