2009 could be busy year for pharmacy issues in state legislatures

December 9, 2008

With the shifting political landscape in Congress and state legislatures across the nation, and an increased focus on health care, 2009 could be a busy year for pharmacy initiatives, according to Geralyn M. Trujillo, MPP, the director of state government affairs for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

With the shifting political landscape in Congress and statelegislatures across the nation, and an increased focus on healthcare, 2009 could be a busy year for pharmacy initiatives,according to Geralyn M. Trujillo, MPP, the director of stategovernment affairs for ASHP.

"This is an opportunity to educate legislators on what's alreadyin place," Trujillo said. "It's an opportunity to show them whatis working, what isn't."

Trujillo described 2008 as an active year for pharmacy issues. InMichigan, a medicinal medical marijuana law was approved andWashington State voters passed a Death with Dignity Law. A totalof 49 states now allow pharmacists to immunize; several statelegislatures are considering generic substitution proposals; andthe movement to regulate, certify, and mandate specific traininglevels for pharmacy technicians is growing.

This week, for example, representatives from 12 states joinedASHP's Pharmacy Technician Initiative effort to promote statelaws regarding the training, registration, and certification oftechnicians. At the federal level, the Environmental ProtectionAgency is considering pharmaceutical waste disposal proposals.Among the pharmacy initiatives that several states are likely toconsider in 2009 are technology issues such as online licenserenewals, which ASHP believes will benefit both pharmacy andstate governments; remote prescription dispensing; and mutualrecognition of licensure.

Trujillo said state boards of pharmacies are definitely morefocused on lobbying efforts, as healthcare reform seems to be onthe national radar. But she cautioned pharmacists not to relysolely on lobbyists, but to voice their concerns to legislators.Brian M. Meyer, ASHP's director of government affairs division,echoed Trujillo's sentiments. "All politics is local, and itstarts at the state legislative level," he said, adding that the"next Barack Obama" will be seated in a state legislature inJanuary.